Exelis (NYSE:XLS), a leading provider of critical network solutions, has achieved factory acceptance testing of the data processing and distribution ground system for Aireon LLC’s (Aireon) space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) surveillance technology.
Aireon’s space-based ADS-B surveillance technology takes advantage of Iridium’s second-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, to enable global and continuous space-based aircraft monitoring. This enables Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and stakeholders to surveil air traffic for all customers globally, including over oceans, polar and remote regions where it is not currently possible.
“Exelis will ensure that Aireon’s service seamlessly integrates with, and extends, existing ground-based services,” said Ed Sayadian, vice president of Civil & Aerospace Systems for Exelis. “The factory acceptance achievement formally verifies that all requirements and interfaces associated with the data processing and distribution ground system were met. This system is setting a foundational building block of a globally harmonized space-based air traffic management system.”
The factory testing was performed in a lab environment using the software and hardware that will be operationally deployed. The testing scope included all functional, performance and interface tests as well as all associated design verification methods to demonstrate and verify that the ground system can receive target data, process target reports, and then send reports to designated ANSPs, in accordance with customer requirements. Deployment of the ground system will be completed in May 2015.
“Only months away from the first satellite launch, we are closer to making space-based ADS-B surveillance not only a concept, but a true reality,” says Vincent Capezzuto, chief technology officer and vice president of engineering, Aireon. He adds, “Exelis is playing an integral part in delivering this technology globally and doing a superb job in the validation and verification of the data and its seamless integration with their automation system. By collaborating with partners like Exelis, Aireon is one step closer to having a fully deployed space-based ADS-B surveillance system available globally in 2018.”
Exelis has been leading the design, engineering and specification of the Aireon system by leveraging its experience operating the nationwide terrestrial ADS-B system under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NextGen initiative. The FAA’s ADS-B network was fully deployed in March 2014. The program has performed exceptionally since it was awarded to Exelis in August 2007, meeting every operational milestone on schedule and within budget.
ADS-B surveillance is based upon aircraft maintaining an accurate state vector of position and velocity and periodically broadcasting the data in short messages. In the Aireon system, these data messages will be captured by one or more payloads, demodulated and decoded, and then sent in periodic reports to a centralized data processing facility on the ground via the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The ground data processing facility will process the reports received from the payloads and provide reports in a defined airspace to ANSPs.
Date: May 18, 2015