New Satellites to Eliminate Lost Aircraft, Company Claims

Aireon says its system uses space-based ADS-B technology that will enable automatic and real-time collection of aircraft position data. The technology gives air traffic controllers and airlines a complete view of the entire sky, including of flight paths in remote and oceanic airspace.

Aireon LLC recently announced the success of the eighth and final launch and deployment of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation hosting the Aireon space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast payloads. The final 10 Iridium NEXT satellites were delivered to low earth orbit, which brought the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 75 (66 operational payloads and nine spares).

The company has promised that they will usher in a new era of global air traffic surveillance and aircraft tracking.

Aireon says its system uses space-based ADS-B technology that will enable automatic and real-time collection of aircraft position data. The technology gives air traffic controllers and airlines a complete view of the entire sky, like never before, including of flight paths in remote and oceanic airspace.

"Today we passed a major milestone on our journey to revolutionize air traffic surveillance and are just weeks away from a fully operational system," said Don Thoma, CEO of Aireon. "Now that the launches are complete, final integration and testing of the recently launched payloads can commence, after which the world's first real-time, truly global view of air traffic will be a reality. It's difficult to contain the excitement until we are formally operational, especially since from a performance standpoint, our technology has far exceeded expectations. Many think this is the end of a journey, being the last Iridium NEXT launch, but for us, this is the beginning of a new way air traffic will be managed."

The company reported that the the Aireon system is processing more than 13 billion ADS-B messages per month, with that number expected to grow upon full deployment. Its news release quoted Marion Blakey, a former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration: "Aireon's space-based ADS-B network is just what the aviation industry needs," she said. "During my time at the FAA, extensive work was done to promote ADS-B technology for global air traffic management efforts. Today's successful launch is not only a victory for Aireon, but for the aviation industry, as we are now one step closer to having a clear, accurate, and complete picture of the world's airspace, including over the oceans and remote areas."

Blakey serves on the Aireon U.S. Advisory Board alongside its chairman, Norman Mineta, a former congressman and U.S. secretary of Transportation, and vice-chairman, Russ Chew, according to the announcement.

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