Innovation

June 29, 2017

Success! SpaceX launches second batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites with Aireon payload

On June 25 2017, a SpaceX rocket carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Onboard the satellites is a payload that will have a tremendous impact on the entire aviation industry: the AireonSM space-based automatic dependent surveillance (ADS-B) broadcast payloads.

This is the second successful launch of Iridium NEXT satellites, and brings Aireon one step closer to providing 100 percent global aircraft surveillance.

Since the first successful launch in January, Aireon has activated 8 payloads and has received over one billion aircraft position reports. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NAV CANADA participated in successful flight tests, proving that the satellites work.

Photo: 24 hours of space-based ADS-B messages with only 8 payloads (that’s only 12.5% of the total constellation!)

Five more Iridium NEXT SpaceX launches are planned. A total of 75 Iridium NEXT satellites carrying the Aireon payloads are scheduled to be in orbit by mid-2018. 66 of these satellites will create the operational Iridium NEXT constellation, which Aireon will use to provide 100 percent real-time global aircraft surveillance and tracking. Nine satellites will serve as on-orbit spares and six additional satellites will be ground spares.

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