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.
I grew up in Minnesota and took my first flight to visit family in California when I was around 8 years old. I remember the thrill of seeing a massive 747 for the first time up close as it rolled to the gate and the feeling of take-off; that little drop in your stomach just as the flaps retract and the plane accelerates into the air. All the innovation and technological advancement that allows for air travel are still a marvel to me.
As a member of the Aireon Service Desk, I have the privilege to work with a dedicated and talented group of individuals that come from a variety of professional IT backgrounds. In order to prepare for this assignment, we’ve all had rigorous Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP) training. We come from different backgrounds, but share a commitment to safety, excellence and customer service.
As a young adult, I worked my way through college as an IT professional and observed a staggering leap in technological innovation, particularly in data speed, data transfer modes and data storage. I worked for several years in the banking and brokerage industry as a Network Analyst before completing a B.S. in Geography with an emphasis in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). My coursework in GIS and my professional work as a GIS Analyst years later inspired an interest in remote sensing. I followed the Iridium satellite constellation launches for several years and was thrilled to learn that their partner, Aireon was rolling out their space-based ADS-B air traffic surveillance service and hiring technicians for their Service Desk in 2019.
The Service Desk is the largest work group at Aireon, comprised of 12 individuals. We are the functional face and first line of contact with the customer. As such, we play an important role in representing Aireon. We monitor the Aireon ground and space-based networks 24/7, 365 days a year: focusing on system operation, stability, maintenance and customer support. Our vantage point provides a unique opportunity to assist in trending and identifying system fault or performance issues. Aireon’s rigorous documentation processes and procedures are critical to safety, expeditious response and troubleshooting. On any given day, you will see Aireon Service Desk members communicating directly with state side and international customers to provide event updates and maintenance notifications, collaborating closely with internal work groups, identifying trends and escalating to relevant work groups and partners. The Aireon system was designed for stability, which affords us the ability to train and understand the Aireon system from a higher level, including some elements of design and implementation. That said, our priority is safety and we are poised and ready for any event that requires competence and composed execution of procedures under pressure.
The future of space-based ADS-B will no doubt evolve to serve a vast array of aviation needs. As an example, I think this technology can help to expand the integration of new airspace entrants, like remote piloted aircraft. I imagine that space-based ADS-B surveillance will not only be an important solution to this and our current demands on global air travel; but will also serve the industry in ways that have not yet been imagined. As our body of customers grows, I’m reminded of Aireon’s promise to deliver an innovative service that leads to safer skies and efficient routes. I can hear the essential nature of this service in our customer’s voice and the peace of mind that it brings.