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A company called Aireon is also planning to launch a constellation of satellites equipped with the technology beginning next year.
Currently, aircraft automatically broadcast their location to ground-based receivers using a technology called Automatic Dependent Surveillance broadcast (ADS-B). It’s one of the key technologies that enables planes to safely fly close to one another in populated areas. At sea however, or over large undeveloped areas like Canada’s North, ground-based tracking is often impossible, and planes can slip out of active surveillance for long periods of time.