It’s Just ADS-B

Aireon’s space-based global surveillance system is just Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) on a satellite. Instead of utilizing traditional radio receiver towers on the ground, Aireon has redesigned them into a flexible and highly effective space-grade receivers on Iridium’s second generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. This will allow for 100 percent global surveillance using the same ADS-B signal that aircraft already transmit.

What is ADS-B?
ADS-B is a surveillance technique that relies on aircraft broadcasting their identity, a precise GPS position and other information derived from on-board systems. ADS-B is automatic because no work is required from the pilot or Air Traffic Controller (ATC).  It is also dependent because it relies on on-board avionics to provide surveillance information to other parties. The data is broadcast every half a second from the aircraft and can be received without a contract.

ADS-B is seen as a key enabler of advanced global surveillance. It is cheaper than traditional radar infrastructure while providing a more frequent and accurate position to the controller, including enhanced data fields.

A key benefit of Aireon’s ADS-B data is that it can also be used for post-flight analysis and allow a live data feed to other aviation systems for enhanced resource planning and operational decision making.

  • Automatic: periodically transmits information with no pilot or operator input required
  • Dependent: position and velocity vector are derived from the Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Surveillance: a method of determining position of aircraft, vehicles or other asset
  • Broadcast: transmitted information available to anyone with the appropriate receiving equipment

For more technical information, see Figure 1 below:

 ATS Surveillance Requirements (EUROCAE)Aireon
Surveillance Data-link RequirementsVariable Per Region
(DO-260 Version 0, 1, 2)
Accepts all 1090ES ADS-B (DO-260 Versions 0, 1, 2)
Aircraft Transmitter Classes SupportedA1 or Higher (125 Watt minimum) A1 or Higher (125 Watt minimum, with a top-mount antenna (TCAS)
Data Format to ANSPASTERIX CAT021, CAT023, CAT025 and FAA CAT033 and CAT023ASTERIX CAT021, CAT023, CAT025 and FAA CAT033 and CAT023
System CoverageEn Route Service Volume (200 NM)Continuous Global Coverage
Availability≥ 99.9%≥ 99.9%
Latency≤ 1.5s to the ATM Automation Platform≤ 1.5s to the ATM Automation Platform
Update Interval≤ 8s at 95% Simulation and testing shows that targets will be delivered at an
UI of ≤ 8s* at 95%