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SpaceX launch completes Iridium satellite refresh


Ten spacecraft have launched from California to complete the $3bn refurbishment of the original satellite phone system, Iridium. A SpaceX Falcon rocket carried the platforms aloft. They will go live in the network in the coming weeks. The original Iridium constellation was put up in the late 90s to link calls to any location on the planet. This function will continue, but the new satellites carry some add-ons to support additional services. One is monitoring technology to surveil the movements of planes. The UK’s air traffic management company, NATS, and…

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A New Era of Global Aircraft Surveillance is on the Horizon as Aireon Completes System Deployment


MCLEAN, Va. – January 11, 2019 – Aireon announced today a successful eighth and final launch and deployment of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation hosting the Aireon space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) payloads. At 7:31 AM PST (15:31 UTC) a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and placed the final 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into low earth orbit (LEO). This launch brought the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 75 (66 operational payloads and 9 spares), completing the historic launch program…

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Final Iridium NEXT Launch Could Set Stage for Aircraft-Tracking Milestone


If Iridium’s final tranche of next generation satellites reaches orbit as planned on Jan. 8, the launch will clear the way for its aviation partner, Aireon LLC, to begin an aircraft tracking demonstration over the North Atlantic Ocean. The Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, is planned for 10:48 Eastern time. With 1,500 daily flights, the North Atlantic is the world’s busiest oceanic air corridor. Since most flights are out of range of ground-based radar, air traffic controllers must separate planes far apart and direct them along…

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A Primary Caretaker of the Aireon Simulator


John Dolan’s childhood fascination with technology, and computers in particular, sparked his career in engineering. In college, he gradually homed in on orbital dynamics and control theory, expertise he applies at Aireon, the aircraft tracking joint venture of Iridium Communications and the air navigation authorities of Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark and Ireland. Dolan focuses on data analysis and modeling at Aireon, the company flying a constellation of satellite-based ADS-B, for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, receivers on Iridium NEXT communications satellites to offer continuous global updates on air traffic.

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