Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) has been successfully rolled out in the Gulf of Mexico, FAA announced Tuesday. “Safety is our highest priority at the U.S. Department of Transportation, and this new satellite-based technology will help the FAA improve the safety of flights over the Gulf even as air traffic increases,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Prior to ADS-B, commercial aircraft flying at high altitudes were kept as much as 120 miles apart to ensure safety. Controllers are now able to safely reduce the separation between ADS-B equipped aircraft to five nautical miles. ADS-B also allows FAA to provide new, more direct routes over the Gulf of Mexico, improving the efficiency of aircraft operations while using less fuel, FAA said. The Gulf of Mexico is the second key site where ADS-B is being used by controllers to separate aircraft. The new technology is also being used by controllers in Louisville, Ky. Controllers in Philadelphia will begin using ADS-B in February and the system will become operational in Juneau in April. ADS-B is expected to be available nationwide by 2013. "The successful rollout of the ADS-B air traffic control system in the Gulf of Mexico this week is a major step forward for the modernization of America’s outdated aerospace infrastructure. The rollout in Philadelphia next month will be another milestone event as the benefits of NextGen technology become immediately apparent in one of the nation’s busiest airspace corridors," said Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) in a statement Thursday.