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Space-based automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) is here. In January 2019, Aireon’s final 10 payloads were successfully launched into space aboard Iridium NEXT satellites.
The space-based ADS-B network – comprising 75 satellites in total, 66 operational payloads and nine spares – is now fully operational.
Don Thoma, CEO of Aireon, admits there were plenty of challenges to get to this point. Even though the original concept for ADS-B dates back to an FAA-sponsored study in 1973, the first ADS-B ground stations were only successfully demonstrated in 2001 in Alaska.