Global Air Traffic Surveillance

In 2018, Aireon will provide the first global air traffic surveillance system using a space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) network that will meet the strict, real-time Air Traffic Service (ATS) surveillance requirements for air traffic separation services anywhere in the world.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) is an air traffic surveillance technology that relies on aircraft broadcasting their identity, a precise Global Positioning System (GPS) position and other information derived from on-board systems. The data is broadcast every half a second from the aircraft, and is being used by Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) to identify and separate aircraft in real-time.

ATS surveillance service is clearly defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) but, put simply, it’s the ability to reliably and in near real-time detect key flight attributes such as position, level and intent.

Space-based ADS-B will provide full, continuous, global air traffic surveillance, whereas before, 70 percent of the world had no access to ATS surveillance information (i.e. the oceans, polar regions, mountainous regions, jungles, deserts). This will significantly improve Air Traffic Management (ATM) safety, efficiency, predictability and capacity, while reducing overall infrastructure costs.

The Aireon Solution

Space-based ADS-B extends the same ADS-B technology currently received on ground-based receivers to space. Aireon’s high-performance payloads, hosted on the new Iridium NEXT Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, will receive aircraft ADS-B messages with a high level of precision and security, and relay them to Air Traffic Controllers in real-time. There are a total of 66 Iridium NEXT satellites, with significant overlap and redundancy, built in the system to provide a safety-of-life service to the aviation industry.

Seamless Implementation

As a turn-key surveillance solution, space-based ADS-B will allow for cost-effective, seamless and rapid implementation to meet future capacity needs and support compliance with regulatory requirements. Additionally, by providing surveillance in remote regions, new routes and a multitude of benefits can be provided to all aviation stakeholders.