Aireon, a joint venture involving Iridium Communications and Nav Canada, the country’s private-sector civil air navigation service provider, has announced a plan to provide free real-time global emergency flight tracking for any ADS-B equipped aircraft. The Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking service will be available to authorized search-and-rescue operations, soon after the completion of the Iridium Next satellite constellation in 2017.
At the NBAA Convention last month, Greenwich AeroGroup of Wichita offered live demonstrations of the Iridium OpenPort Aero, described as “the only aviation broadband solution that works everywhere in the world, including remote, oceanic and polar regions,” using Iridium’s worldwide satellite network.
Now that Iridium has successfully completed the financing for its next-generation satellite constellation, called Iridium Next, the McLean, Va., firm is looking ahead to the fun part: building and launching an all-new network of dozens of cross-linked communications satellites.
Iridium said it has begun taking steps to replace a lost communication satellite with one of eight in-orbit spares. The collision of a 2,000-pound decommissioned Russian satellite with the smaller Iridium craft on February 10 created a swirling field of debris but left only a tiny gap in Iridium’s 66-satellite constellation, resulting in brief outages for some customers.
Inmarsat last month began repositioning its I-4 satellite constellation in an effort aimed at providing full global SwiftBroadband coverage and improving network performance. Moving the three I-4 satellites into new orbital slots 24,000 miles in space is a complicated task, but officials say the result will be worth the effort.
Iridium last month said it has reached agreements with three companies to develop the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, called Iridium Next. Lockheed Martin, Space Systems Loral and Thales Alenia Space will develop design concepts, review critical engineering and evaluate performance and capabilities. Iridium said it will select two additional partners for detailed system development.
LAAS could end up being overtaken by a combination of the FAA’s WAAS and Europe’s GPS equivalent, Galileo. While official speakers at last month’s U.S.
Iridium has named suppliers to help it build and deploy the Iridium Next satellite constellation over the next several years. Partners will include Boeing, General Dynamics, Avaliant, KinetX, MicroSat Systems and Trident Sensors. The Next network is predicted to cost around $2.2 billion and will consist of 66 low-earth-orbit satellites plus a dozen or so spares.
Iridium, the Bethesda, Maryland-based satellite communications provider, has signed an agreement with Astrium Services that will see the latter, an EADS, subsidiary, becoming a value-added reseller of satellite communication equipment and services to its civil and defense customers worldwide.
SkyTrac Systems yesterday announced receipt of an order for 100 shipsets (plus options) of its satellite-based SkyWeb automatic flight-following and communication equipment from Canadian Helicopters.
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