Op-Ed | The space industry’s game-changing role in next-generation aircraft tracking and surveillance
“Traditional” ADS-B transmits to ground-based communication systems and lacks coverage over oceans and remote areas. This is where the space industry is stepping up to play a game-changing role in the next generation of aviation.
Aireon said it signed the credit facility Dec. 21, and that it used the new funds to pay satellite operator Iridium $35 million before the end of 2018 for hosting its sensor payloads on the Iridium Next constellation.
Aireon, the aircraft-tracking venture Iridium Communications founded to help finance construction of the now nearly completed Iridium Next Constellation, is close to securing a new credit line that should allow the firm to catch up on $200 million in overdue payload hosting fees.
Aireon raised $69 million from a British partner, enabling the aircraft-tracking startup to begin making hosting payments to Iridium Communications.
A company that fleet operator Iridium formed to help finance its second-generation satellite constellation is taking longer than expected to pay Iridium back for carrying its sensor network to orbit.
Now that its first batch of next generation satellites is in orbit and operational, mobile satellite services provider Iridium is preparing deorbit procedures for its legacy fleet of low-Earth orbit satellites that launched in the late 1990s.
Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications on July 28 said it had opened negotiations with its lenders and its satellite manufacturer to reduce or delay Iridium payments in the event Iridium’s Aireon air traffic surveillance affiliate cannot make its scheduled payment to Iridium.
Global governments’ approval of radio spectrum permitting aircraft to provide additional tracking data to satellites reduces the chance of another lost jet like Malaysian Airlines MH370 and immediately improves the business case for Iridium Satellites and its Aireon LLC aircraft-tracking affiliate.