The FAA awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin last month that will add a third leased geostationary satellite to the two existing satellites used for the wide-area augmentation system (WAAS). Acquisition of a third satellite follows a recommendation from an independent review board study that concluded it was too risky to depend on only two satellites for the availability of the WAAS signal.
Despite the fundamental role of clouds in weather, there is much we don’t know about them. NASA intends to do something about that under a 24-month, satellite-based mission scheduled to launch next year. Called CloudSat, the program is aimed at better understanding how clouds affect climate in terms of their thickness, height, absorption, and water and ice content.
TrueNorth Avionics has completed integration testing with Chelton of an Inmarsat data communications link for business jets using TrueNorth’s Simphone airborne telecom system. Jet Works in Denton, Texas, installed the first TrueNorth cabin communications system in a business jet last summer, a Simphone Chorus system in a Challenger 604.
Hoping to cash in on new types of airborne communications capabilities, Airbus has combined forces with SITA and Tenzing to form an in-flight service called OnAir, the European airframe integrator announced last month. Starting next year, the joint venture will offer broadband Internet connections and satcom service, with the eventual goal being airborne personal cellphone links by 2006.
In 1999, Motorola’s ill-starred Iridium satcom venture declared bankruptcy and was on the verge of maneuvering the service’s 66 satellites to burn up in the atmosphere. Today, officials at the re-established satcom operation are promoting the company’s rapidly growing customer base and line of service offerings.
Arinc Direct customers will soon be discovering new horizons. The business division of Annapolis, Md.-based Arinc expects to expand coverage of its Skylink in-flight satellite Ku broadband service to include the Caribbean, the North Atlantic and a “substantial” portion of Central and South America before year-end. Skylink service over North America has been available since 2005, and service over Europe was added last year.
Inmarsat, the global satellite-communications company, is preparing the next generation of its geostationary satellites, which a spokesman said will be far more capable than those now in orbit supporting voice, fax and Swift64 data services.
For operators clamoring to take full advantage of Inmarsat’s new Swift64 airborne data service, Honeywell and Thales announced that the new MCS-7000 satcom system has received FAA approval. The first MCS-7000 has been shipped to Gulfstream’s Appleton, Wis. completion center for installation on a Gulfstream IV-SP owned and operated by Phillips Petroleum.
“The launch of a new era in space travel” is the bold claim of EADS Astrium for its Spaceplane, a model of which stands at the company’s booth (C220). Unlike space tourism proposals that involve a space element taken aloft beneath a ‘mother’ aircraft, the Astrium Spaceplane would operate from any airport or airfield that grants permission.
operators in the PACIFIC RIM Phoenix Fuel has formed Phoenix Japan Aviation Group, based at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, to provide ground-handling services for Pacific Rim business aviation operators as well as commercial and cargo companies. Phoenix’s services include contract fuel, permits, slots, ground transportation and a direct link to international trip planning, according to the company.