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Satnews Daily
March 6th, 2014

Aireon LLC—A Qualified Success (SATCOM)

[SatNews] Aireon LLC, the developer of the world's first space-based global air traffic surveillance system, has announced that the receiver payload for the system has successfully completed qualification testing for operation in the harsh environment of space.

This achievement is a key building block in the deployment of Aireon and represents a significant milestone in validating that the payload and system design will provide robust reception of ADS-B signals from space. The company will now begin production of 81 ADS-B 1090 Extended Squitter (ES) receiver payloads, designed by Harris Corporation, that will be hosted on the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, launching in 2015. The receiver payloads will complement ground-based air traffic surveillance systems currently in use by seamlessly relaying position and status information of aircraft flying over oceans, poles and remote regions to air traffic controllers on the ground.

"Completing the testing and space qualification of the Harris payload receivers is a key milestone for both Aireon and for Iridium NEXT," said Don Thoma, president & CEO, Aireon. "When we selected Harris as the payload provider in 2012, we knew that their deep technical expertise would be an asset in designing a technically superior payload and manufacturing a large number of space-qualified ADS-B receivers. Now that we are ready to begin production on the payloads, we are confident that we picked the right partner to be part of the most significant commercially hosted payload program in the space industry to date."

"Successful testing and qualification of the Aireon hosted payload is a major milestone in this, the largest-ever hosted payload program," said Bill Gattle, vice president and general manager, National Programs, Harris Government Communications Systems. "Completing rigorous trials with outstanding results is an important achievement in the development process and our team is eager to move forward with production."

Aireon is a joint venture between Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM), NAV CANADA, ENAV (Italy), the Irish Aviation Authority, and Naviair (Denmark), established to launch the Aireon system by hosting ADS-B receiver payloads on Iridium NEXT, Iridium's second-generation satellite constellation. Aireon will uniquely leverage Iridium NEXT to meet the critical need of extending ADS-B coverage and benefits to every flight path across the planet.