Iridium Communications announced Aireon, a new company which will eventually allow air traffic management agencies anywhere on earth the ability to track aircraft anywhere else on the planet using ADS-B equipment that will be attached Iridium Next, to a new 66-satellite network scheduled to begin launching in 2015. Iridium Next is the updated replacement hardware for Iridium’s current satellite network.
Aireon will deliver this surveillance capability to air navigation service providers around the world and their commercial airline customers, through a planned joint venture between Iridium and Nav Canada, with support from the FAA and suppliers Harris Corporation and ITT Exelis. Nav Canada, whose participation is subject to the completion of formal agreements in the near future, intends to be Aireon’s first customer.
Iridium said in a news release, “The ADS-B 1090 MHz extended squitter receivers on every Iridium Next satellite will complement ground-based air navigation systems currently in use by seamlessly relaying, in near-real time, position and status information of aircraft flying over oceans, poles and remote regions to air traffic controllers on the ground. This new capability will extend the benefits of current radar-based surveillance systems, which cover less than 10 percent of the world, to the entire planet.”