Successful fifth launch brings Aireon Global Air Traffic Surveillance system closer to full deployment

Aireon has announced the fifth successful launch and deployment of its space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) payloads, hosted by the Iridium® NEXT satellite constellation. At 7:13:51 AM PDT (14:13:51 UTC), a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, bringing the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 50.

When the Aireon payloads from the fifth launch come online, the system will have nearly global coverage with 15-minute or better update intervals. This signifies optimal timing for airlines to begin testing the capabilities of space-based ADS-B. This will assist airlines with meeting the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations that require aircraft be equipped with an aircraft tracking system for those flights not tracked by air traffic control by the end of 2018. With the Aireon service and access to the space-based ADS-B data, airlines can meet this directive set by regulators and safety organizations.

“We’re over two-thirds of the way there,” said Don Thoma, CEO, Aireon. “And as we get closer to a fully operational system, thorough testing and validation is now underway with our customers and partners.” Thoma continued, “Aireon is working closely with not only ANSPs, but partners like FlightAware to ensure airlines have early access to this global data, ahead of regulations and requirements. Aireon will be able to help airlines meet these mandates, and upon completion of the constellation, update rates of a few seconds will be the service standard around the world.”

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