Successful Third Launch Brings 10 More Aireon Payloads to Orbit
Vandenberg USA, 9 October 2017 – Aireon announced today the successful launch and deployment of the third batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites.
Conducted from Vandenberg Air Force Base with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, this launch has increased the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 30, with another 45 destined for space in a series of five additional launches planned over the next ten months.
Aireon is well on its way to become the first to provide global, real-time air traffic surveillance and tracking to air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and aviation stakeholders. This will enable Aireon to provide radar-like position information to air traffic controllers in 100 percent of their airspace. That far surpasses current coverage capabilities, where 70-plus percent of the world.
Enav participate in AIREON with 12,5% of shares, other shareholders being NAVCANADA, Iridium Communications Inc., IAA and Naviair, have been connected to the system in preparation for live operations in 2018. Initial results of these integrations show an average update of position data for ADS-B equipped aircraft approximately every five seconds.
The Aireon payloads from the first two launches, completed on January 14th and June 25th of 2017, have demonstrated the ground-breaking capability to identify aircraft all over world, resulting in more than six billion ADS-B position reports being received in just seven months.
Enav participation in Aireon is also intended to bring the development of this Satellite ADS-B service all the experience and skills of one of the major European ANSP as well as to develop synergies with other international initiatives in the Mediterranean and other areas like South-Eastern Asia, where, in Kuala Lumpur, operates the subsidiary “Enav Asia Pacific”.
The Aireon service is hosted by the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, which will consist of 66 low-earth orbit interconnected satellites. A total of 81 Iridium NEXT satellites are being built, all of which will have the Aireon payload onboard. Currently, 75 satellites are planned to be deployed with nine serving as on-orbit spares and the remaining six as ground spares. After launch, each satellite payload goes through a rigorous period of testing and validation ensuring optimal performance is achieved. The constellation is planned for completion in mid-2018.