Iridium Communications CEO Matt Desch has said the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation works to help track the location of commercial aircraft across trans-oceanic routes in support of the Federal Aviation Administration's Next Generation Air Transportation System program, NASASpaceflight.com reported Friday.
Desch said the company has equipped its Iridium NEXT satellites with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast receivers designed to enable planes to communicate their position, altitude and air speed to air traffic controllers.
“The 10 that were launched back in January, the receivers can see planes a lot farther than we thought they would be able to,“ Desch told NASASpaceflight.com's Chris Gebhardt in an interview.
Desch, also an inductee into Executive Mosaic's Wash100 for 2017, noted the potential benefit of the satellite network with the ADS-B system to polar air traffic routes.
“The top and bottom parts of the world will be completely covered by end of this year, and we might start offering services there earlier,“ he added.
He also cited the capability of Iridium NEXT to provide push-to-talk service for military personnel and first responders as well as discussed the constellation's applications in the area of internet of things.