Iridium Forms Air Traffic Satellite JV; Matt Desch Comments

Matt Desch

Iridium Communications is helping form a joint venture to provide a satellite service to air traffic management agencies for tracking planes worldwide, the company announced Monday.

Aireon, formed by Iridium and NAV Canada, will also receive support from the Federal Aviation Administration and industry partners Harris Corp. and ITT Exelis pending completion of formal agreements.

“I am excited that Iridium will once again be able to use its unique global satellite network to expand connectivity beyond the limitations of ground-based systems,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in the release. “Just as we opened the world of personal communications far beyond the ten percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered by terrestrial networks, we are now extending the reach of land-based aircraft tracking systems.

Harris will provide Aireon 81 automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast receivers to fly as hosted payloads onto an Iridium 66-satellite constellation, known as NEXT.

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