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MCLEAN, VA. – Aireon LLC, developer and operator of the world’s first space-based global air traffic surveillance system, announced today that the first flight payload for the system has been delivered by Harris Corporation for integration into Iridium NEXT satellites. This is the first of 81 ADS-B receiver payloads that will be launched and deployed on Iridium NEXT to provide Aireon’s real-time aircraft monitoring system that will optimize air traffic management around the world.
“With only 28 months from contract award to the delivery of the first payload, the Harris team has done a phenomenal job in not only building and qualifying a full payload in record time, but also exceeding all technical and performance milestones necessary for providing a robust surveillance capability for air traffic management,” said Don Thoma, President and CEO, Aireon. “This achievement is a key building block towards a successful first launch in 2015 and moves Aireon one step closer to having a fully deployed space-based ADS-B surveillance system available for the aviation community beginning in 2017.”
“First payload shipment is yet another key milestone in this program and puts us one step closer to transforming air traffic management around the world,” said Bill Gattle, vice president and general manager, National Programs, Harris Government Communications Systems. “Our partnership with Aireon and Iridium demonstrates the extraordinary value of hosted payload solutions for cost effective access to space.”
The Aireon hosted payload was delivered to Orbital Sciences Corporation’s manufacturing facility in Gilbert, AZ, where Orbital is responsible for the assembly, integration, test and launch support phases for Iridium Communication Inc.’s (Nasdaq:IRDM) second-generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. The highly efficient satellite production line will complete a total of 81 satellites for the constellation, including 66 low-Earth orbit operational satellites, six in-orbit spares, and nine ground-backup spacecraft, over the next three years. Aireon, with its ADS-B receiver payloads integrated as a hosted payload, will benefit from the global coverage and high availability of the Iridium NEXT constellation.
In partnership with leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and investors from around the world, NAV CANADA, ENAV, IAA and Naviair, as well as Iridium, Aireon plans to provide the first opportunity for global air traffic surveillance as early as 2017. The Aireon space-based ADS-B service will complement ground-based air traffic surveillance systems currently in use, by seamlessly relaying position and status information of aircraft flying over oceans, poles and remote regions to air traffic controllers on the ground. This new capability is a quantum leap for remote surveillance, extending air traffic surveillance to the entire planet and unlocking operational efficiencies, reducing fuel costs and enhancing safety in remote and oceanic airspace.
Headquartered in McLean, VA, Aireon LLC was formed to provide air navigation service providers with the capability to track aircraft anywhere in the world in real time, including the only coverage over oceanic, polar and remote regions. Aireon will harness the best of aviation surveillance advancements already underway and extend them globally in order to significantly improve the business of air operations through increased efficiency, expanded safety, worldwide integration, reduced GHG emissions and significant cost savings to airlines and ANSPs alike.