Aireon launches second batch of Iridium NEXT satellites
Aireon has announced the successful launch and deployment of the second batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, carrying its space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) payloads.
This launch has increased the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 20 with another 55 destined for space in a series of six additional launches planned for the next 12 months. Aireon’s technology will provide real-time, 100 percent global air traffic surveillance and tracking, which will for the first time bring aircraft visibility to all regions of the planet.
“With two successful launches under our belt, we are making great progress towards bringing our service to a reality,” said Vinny Capezzuto, chief technology officer and vice president of engineering, Aireon. “Just like with the first batch of our payloads, we will go through a rigorous process of testing and validating each individual payload, pushing their limits to maximize operational effectiveness.”
Since the first successful launch in January, Aireon has activated 8 payloads and has received over one billion aircraft position reports. In addition, the company has conducted successful flights tests with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NAV CANADA, which validated the technology’s capabilities and allowed for further fine tuning.
The Aireon payloads, which were manufactured by Harris Corporation, will be hosted on all 81 Iridium NEXT satellites, 75 of which are scheduled for launch. The operational Iridium NEXT constellation will consist of 66 satellites, with the remaining nine serving as on-orbit spares and six additional ground spares.