Development Begins on Single European Sky Program
The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched the early development phase of the Single European Sky Iris program, a research initiative designed to improve air traffic management through satellite-based air-to-ground communication links. If the early development proposals are approved by the ESA Council next year, system development will begin in mid 2009. The Iris program is part of the Single European Sky Air traffic management Research (Sesar) program, adopted by the European Commission in 2004. According to ESA, satellite-based aircraft communication systems will improve communication between aircraft and air traffic controllers, reduce delays and enable optimal routing, thereby saving on fuel and flight time and reducing pollution. ESA is working with the European space industry, Eurocontrol, air navigation service providers and national space agencies to develop the program.