Aireon Eighteen Months Post-Launch

Since its launch in 2019, Aireon’s space-based ADS-B technology has provided a new method of flight surveillance, one that closes an essential gap in coverage created by traditional ground-based surveillance systems. Before Aireon, classic radar and ground-based ADS-B left an estimated 70 percent of the global airspace unsurveilled, primarily due to  limitations in surveillance caused by extreme conditions and decreased line of sight capabilities in remote regions of the globe, like mountains, oceans and polar regions. Now, a year-and-a-half since its system went live, Aireon operates on a constellation of…

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Space-Based ADS-B Lifts Off

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. Read…

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