Launch of the First 10 Iridium NEXT Satellites
Aireon announced that Thales has officially begun the testing and validation of the Aireon space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data. Aireon and Thales signed an initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in June of 2015 and the start of data validation marks a major milestone for these two companies’ efforts to ensure the successful integration of space-based ADS-B into the TopSky–ATC automation platform. The MOU was also designed to pave the way for Aireon data to be efficiently and effectively distributed to TopSky-ATC end-users.
With the Aireon system now receiving initial air traffic information from its first orbiting satellites, Thales will independently validate the space-based ADS-B air traffic surveillance data. This collaboration will include an assessment of technical performance, defining requirements associated with utilization of the data safely and reliably, as well as determining the impact the service will have on existing maintenance and operational processes. The MOU was the first agreement signed between Aireon and an air traffic management automation platform provider.
“We have been working strategically with Thales for over two years to implement a robust third party data validation set of processes and procedures. Thales is a leading air traffic management automation platform provider and we want to ensure that space-based ADS-B will be incorporated seamlessly into the system,” said Don Thoma, CEO of Aireon. “Thales will have a direct connection to our service delivery point and will be ready to go live with the Aireon data when we are operational in 2018. In the meantime, our teams will work hand-in-hand to ensure that the data’s update rate, availability, stability, coverage, latency and position accuracy meet the gold standard for air traffic surveillance.”
“We are pleased to be working with Aireon on the integration of ADS-B data into TopSky-ATC and also serving as a third-party expert in the validation of the space-based ADS-B data,” said Jean-Marc Alias, vice president of air traffic management for Thales. “This agreement was executed with our customers in mind. TopSky-ATC is the world’s most widely deployed ATC system, and our world-wide customer base should have best-in-class data for operational efficiency and safety. Aireon is breaking new ground in this area, and we want to ensure our customers are ready when they are.”
The Aireon service will be operational in 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. On January 14, 2017, the first ten Iridium NEXT satellites carrying the Aireon ADS-B hosted payload were successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In total, the constellation will consist of 66 operational low-Earth-orbit satellites providing global coverage. The service will also provide Air Navigation Service Providers with global aircraft surveillance capability, and is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety and enable more efficient flight paths.
About Aireon LLC
Aireon is deploying a global, space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system capable of surveilling and tracking ADS-B equipped aircraft around the globe in real-time. The system will be used to provide ADS-B coverage that will span oceanic, polar and remote regions, where current surveillance systems are limited to line-of-site and densely populated areas. Aireon will harness the best of aviation surveillance advancements already underway and extend them globally in order to significantly improve efficiency, expand safety, reduce emissions and provide cost savings to aviation stakeholders. In partnership with leading ANSPs from around the world, NAV CANADA, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications, Aireon is developing an operational, global, space-based air traffic surveillance system expected to be available by 2018. More information about Aireon can be found on Aireon’s official website.
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defence and Security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €14 billion in 2015. With over 22,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its exceptional international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world.