Aireon has launched and deployed the second batch of 10 Iridium Next satellites, the company said. These satellites carry ADS-B payloads. A planned six additional launches in the next 12 months would allow for 100% global air traffic surveillance and tracking.
"With two successful launches under our belt, we are making great progress toward bringing our service to a reality," said Aireon's Vinny Capezzuto, CTO and VP of engineering. "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 launch in January, Aireon said it has activated eight payloads and received more than 1 billion aircraft position reports. Flight tests with the FAA and Nav Canada validated the ADS-B technology’s capability. During the tests, a Bombardier aircraft with top- and bottom-mounted 125-watt ADS-B antennas transmitted 6,935 ADS-B messages to an Aireon payload.
The Aireon payloads were manufactured by Harris Corp. They are to be hosted on all 81 Iridium Next satellites, 75 of which are scheduled for launch.