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Satnews Daily
October 17th, 2013

SES + Thales Alenia Space + DLR—Air Traffic Control Impetus (Business)

[SatNews] In the presence of the Luxembourg Minister of Higher Education and Research, Mrs. Martine Hansen, and Prof. Hansjörg Dittus, Executive Board Member of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), SES TechCom S.A., a subsidiary of SES S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), a long term agreement has been signed with its strategic partners DLR and Thales Alenia Space Germany for the joint development of the first European space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) constellation to monitor and optimize air traffic control around the globe.

The agreement follows the successful launch of the ADS-B payload developed by DLR, which is currently operated on board the Proba V satellite and continuously provides global ADS-B data to the mission processing and analysis center developed and operated by SES TechCom S.A.

This pioneering payload developed by DLR will be followed by the in orbit validation mission, which will demonstrate the full technical scope of space-based ADS-B. The European Space Agency has contracted Thales Germany for the development of this next generation ADS-B system, which is progressing on schedule with strong participation of the Luxembourg space industry, such as LuxSpace, with the TRITON micro-satellite platform to support the future demonstration mission.

Prof. Hansjörg Dittus, DLR, said, “The promising results of the proof of concept mission demonstrate the potential of space-based ADS-B for global air traffic monitoring and control, especially in areas not covered by ground-based radar such as oceans or deserts. Aircraft will remain continuously visible during their journeys around the globe by providing their position, altitude, velocity vector and relevant telemetry data to ground controllers and other suitably equipped planes on an automatic basis. The agreement is in the interest of DLR and underlines the good relationship and strong cooperation between the German and Luxembourgish space industry.”

From left to right: Alan Kuresevic (SES TechCom), Prof. Hansjörg Dittus (DLR), Minister Martine Hansen, Sven Carstensen (Thales Alenia Space), Gerhard Bethscheider (SES TechCom), Jörg Berens (DLR)
Photo courtesy of SES.

Sven Carstensen, CEO Thales Alenia Space Germany, said, “Putting ADS-B, a field-proven terrestrial surveillance concept, onto satellites will further enhance safety and efficiency of modern air traffic around the entire globe in the foreseeable future. Combining European leaders’ competences and capabilities in this promising technology will open and secure new business opportunities for Europe worldwide. This will help us to master growing demand for air transportation and to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions”.

Gerhard Bethscheider, Managing Director of SES TechCom S.A., said, “The development of the space-based air traffic control is part of SES’ strategic initiative to drive innovation in space and broadcasting technologies. Today´s agreement bundles the ADS-B related know-how and core competencies of three committed partners that have a reputation for excellence in space. It will support the efficient knowledge transfer between the teams and therefore will significantly shorten the development phase for a space-based ADS-B constellation.”

Minister Martine Hansen said, “This agreement and the in-orbit demonstration currently running on the PROBA-V mission would never have been possible without Luxembourg’s membership in the European Space Agency. The efforts pursued by the Luxembourg Government over the last 10 years in this domain are starting to bear fruit and to lead to very innovative and promising projects such as satellite-based ADS-B.”