In less than two months, the culmination of more than five years of hard work will take another significant step forward. In fall of 2016 the first of seven SpaceX launches carrying ten Iridium NEXT satellites and their Aireon space-based ADS-B hosted-payloads, will takeoff headed for a low-earth orbit. In support of this milestone, we’re proud to introduce Aireon 1090 Global, where readers will be able to gain additional insight into the capabilities of space-based ADS-B, the progress of Aireon and the exciting ways Aireon will contribute to the aviation community.
Since Aireon’s inception, the idea of 100 percent global real-time aircraft surveillance and its benefits to safety, efficiency and the environment have steadily become more and more clear. Starting back in 2011 and continuing to today, the world has actively engaged with Aireon and supported our progress toward the full deployment of the space-based ADS-B constellation. Here are a few of the most notable milestones from the past five years:
- In the fourth quarter of 2011, when Aireon was still a just concept, the Federal Aviation Administration signed an MOA with Iridium and Aireon to assess the potential of space-based ADS-B, providing valuable insight into the development and use of ADS-B in remote airspace.
- In 2012, Aireon was formally announced when NAV CANADA became the first customer of Aireon and agreed to invest $150 million in Aireon. In addition, Aireon and Harris entered into two contracts to design and manufacture 81 ADS-B 1090 Extended Squitter receiver payloads and to develop and operate the ADS-B data processing and distribution system for Aireon℠.
- In 2014, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority and Naviair joined NAV CANADA and Iridium as partners and investors with the commitment of an additional $120 million to the joint venture. In early 2014, NATS signed a 12-year agreement with Aireon to be a charter ANSP and launch customer, working closely with NAV CANADA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the technical and operational development of space-based ADS-B services.
- In November of 2015 at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15), the International Telecommunication Union voted to adopt a primary allocation of the 1090 MHz frequency band for the reception by satellites of ADS-B signals from aircraft. The vote ensures that this essential frequency is available for real-time flight tracking over 100 percent of the earth’s surface, whereas today, it is limited to just 30 percent.
- Through 2015 and 2016, Aireon added three more launch customers, including DC-ANSP, Curacao’s ANSP, ATNS, South Africa’s ANSP and CAAS, Singapore’s ANSP.
- On June 1, 2016 it was announced that Harris had completed production of all 81 receivers ahead of schedule. These receivers will be installed as hosted payloads on all Iridium NEXT satellites to provide the essential ADS-B surveillance service. Completion of the payloads represents a significant achievement, being the largest implementation of a hosted payload solution ever achieved.
- Confirmed by Vandenberg Air Force Base and SpaceX, in the fall of 2016 will be the first launch of the Iridium NEXT constellation carrying its Aireon hosted-payloads. This launch will begin a rapid sequence of seven total launches. With ten satellites deployed per launch, the benefits of the Aireon space-based ADS-B system will be fully deployed by 2018.
Thanks for tuning in to Aireon 1090 Global for the first edition. It’s an exciting time for Aireon and the aviation industry as a whole. We appreciate your support and look forward to continue providing updates and offering behind the scenes looks at Aireon in posts to come.