Aireon announced today that Thales has officially begun the testing and validation of the Aireon space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data. Initially signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in June of 2015, the start of data validation marks a major milestone for Aireon and Thales‘ efforts to ensure the successful integration of space-based ADS-B into the TopSky–ATC automation platform. The MOU was also designed to pave the way for Aireon data to be efficiently and effectively distributed to TopSky-ATC end-users.
With the Aireon system now receiving initial air traffic information from its first orbiting satellites, Thales will independently validate the space-based ADS-B air traffic surveillance data. This collaboration will include an assessment of technical performance, defining requirements associated with utilization of the data safely and reliably, as well as determining the impact the service will have on existing maintenance and operational processes. The MOU was the first agreement signed between Aireon and an air traffic management automation platform provider.
“We have been working strategically with Thales for over two years to implement a robust third party data validation set of processes and procedures. Thales is a leading air traffic management automation platform provider and we want to ensure that space-based ADS-B will be incorporated seamlessly into the system,” said Don Thoma, CEO, Aireon. “Thales will have a direct connection to our service delivery point and will be ready to go live with the Aireon data when we are operational in 2018. In the meantime, our teams will work hand-in-hand to ensure that the data’s update rate, availability, stability, coverage, latency and position accuracy meet the gold standard for air traffic surveillance.”
“We are pleased to be working with Aireon on the integration of ADS-B data into TopSky-ATC and also serving as a third-party expert in the validation of the space-based ADS-B data,” said Jean-Marc Alias, vice president, air traffic management, Thales. “This agreement was executed with our customers in mind. TopSky-ATC is the world’s most widely deployed ATC system, and our world-wide customer base should have best-in-class data for operational efficiency and safety. Aireon is breaking new ground in this area, and we want to ensure our customers are ready when they are.”
The Aireon service will be operational in 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. On January 14, 2017, the first ten Iridium NEXT satellites carrying the Aireon ADS-B hosted payload were successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In total, the constellation will consist of 66 operational low-Earth-orbit satellites providing global coverage. The service will also provide Air Navigation Service Providers with global aircraft surveillance capability, and is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety and enable more efficient flight paths.