ATM Modernization

Space-Based ADS-B Undergoes Successful Testing

By Nick Zazulia | January 19, 2018

Aireon Global Space Based ADSB

Graphic courtesy of Aireon

The FAA, NAV CANADA and Aireon completed two successful flight tests of the company’s satellite-based ADS-B system in December with a reported receipt of more than 100,000 messages.

The FAA’s testing took place between New Jersey and New York, while NAV CANADA’s testing happened in Edmonton airspace. Both used ADS-B transponders operating at 125 watts. NAV CANADA’s Director of Flight Operations Anthony MacKay said that everything used in the test is commercially available other than the down-tuned power output on its ADS-B system.

Around one-third of the 66 Aireon ADS-B receivers, which are designed to avoid the line-of-sight limitations of traditional land-based ADS-B and radar, successfully received data during the tests. The idea is that each receiver has an independent opportunity to receive the data, creating a redundancy that Aireon considers vital to authenticating position information.

Aireon is attempting to position its satellite-based ADS-B as a full-spectrum, global solution that lacks the problems of any other surveillance system. The network of what will ultimately be 75 orbiting satellites (with 6 grounded spares) that house the receivers is expected to be finished in mid-2018.

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