This is a key technical milestone toward the first launch of Iridium NEXT and the first demonstration of the Aireon air traffic surveillance capability. The forthcoming Aireon service will be deployed using space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers built into each of the 66 satellites in Iridium NEXT, Iridium's second-generation satellite constellation. Iridium NEXT is scheduled to launch between 2015 and 2017, with full Aireon service expected to be available in 2018.
"This milestone moves us significantly closer to being able to provide the global air traffic surveillance system that the world needs," says Vincent Capezzuto, CTO and Vice President of Engineering, Aireon. "The Aireon system will provide real value to stakeholders by enabling vast improvements in efficiency and safety of air traffic operations. Iridium continues to make good progress with the constellation build, keeping Aireon on track for full service deployment."
"The integration of the Aireon hosted payload to the satellite platform is a major milestone for Aireon, Iridium and the aviation industry, in general," says Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium Communications Inc. "This brings the Iridium NEXT constellation one step closer to hosting the first truly global surveillance and tracking service."
In partnership with leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) and investors from around the world such as NAV CANADA, ENAV, IAA, and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications Inc., the Aireon space-based ADS-B system will make all ADS-B equipped aircraft visible, by seamlessly relaying aircraft position and status information to air traffic controllers on the ground.