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A Day In The Life: Ben Haber


Learn more about Aireon from the Aireon team themselves. This series, “A Day in The Life,” will allow the Aireon team to speak first-hand about their experiences, views, and future outlook on space-based ADS-B.  Aireon is proud of our extraordinary team of experts and aim to highlight them in this blog series. We hope you enjoy meeting the Aireon team and further understand our strong commitment to aviation.

Very seldom do opportunities arise to partake in something that can both reshape an industry and provide a global-reaching effect. Last year, this made my decision to join Aireon as a Data Analyst and Systems Engineer an easy one. There is no other company providing space-based ADS-B surveillance and no one else provides our quality of surveillance on a global scale. Being the first and only company operating a space-based air traffic surveillance system makes the challenges both unique and tough. Being a part of the engineering team that resolves these challenges is an incredible opportunity.

After graduating with my Master of Science from Ohio State University, my aviation career began with Rolls-Royce (the jet engine company). There, I had the pleasure to work on the development of aircraft engines powering the Global Hawk and Boeing 787. I was involved in whole engine testing, modeling and analysis and ultimately lead many crucial certification tests. Once these programs ended, I got some operational experience supporting the airlines flying the 787 before going back to the analytical work I enjoyed the most and getting my certificate in Data Science.

Here at Aireon my role involves the modeling, analysis and testing of our system’s performance. This supports many technical aspects of Aireon. Much of my analytical and testing work ensures Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and regulators can safely manage their airspace by demonstrating that Aireon’s data service meets their standards. I am often extending these analytical techniques towards evaluating new algorithms and methods for improving our space-based ADS-B system. Since the Aireon payloads, command center and data processing center are highly configurable there are numerous possibilities to further improve the efficiency and performance of our system. This will continue to grow our service and provide the margins of safety needed to separate aircraft in the densest airspaces in the world, that are predicted to grow even busier in years to come.

I was lucky enough to join Aireon in time to witness the launch and activation of most of our payloads and Aireon’s global data service coming on-line. Before that, real-time tracking of aircraft did not exist over most of the globe since this could only be accomplished with ground-based surveillance. Sadly, the implementation of these systems is often physically or economically limited. In contrast, Aireon’s space-based surveillance detects Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transmissions of equipped aircraft at any location on the planet while still meeting strict performance requirements. Aireon’s space-based ADS-B is currently being used by Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) over the highest trafficked oceanic airspace, the North Atlantic Ocean. The traffic in this busy part of the globe has never been surveilled in real time, until now! This is just one of the many ways that Aireon is breaking through norms and revolutionizing aviation.

Airspace is limited, traffic and population are growing, and the ATC industry has always had the ominous fear congestion will one day reach its tipping point. This was especially true in the regions of our globe beyond ground-based surveillance coverage. Fortunately, space-based ADS-B s now a reality and ATCs are using data supplied by Aireon in a manner and places not done before. ANSPs subscribed to Aireon’s data service can forever benefit in a tremendous way.