A prototype payload for the future space-based air-traffic control system has been tested aboard the Proba V spacecraft

Space-based air traffic control system

European companies have started developing a satellite-based system enabling constant monitoring of aircraft travelling all over the world even above oceans, deserts and other uninhabited regions.

The German Space Agency, Thales Alenia Space Germany and Luxembourg-headquartered company SES have signed an agreement to jointly develop Europe’s first space based Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) satellite constellation to monitor and optimise air traffic control around the globe.

A prototype device has already been tested aboard the Proba V satellite operated by the European Space Agency.

“The promising results of the proof of concept mission demonstrate the potential of space-based ADS-B for global air traffic monitoring and control, especially in areas not covered by ground-based radar such as oceans or deserts,” said Professor Hansjoerg Dittus, from the German Space Agency.

“Aircraft will remain continuously visible during their journeys around the globe by providing their position, altitude, velocity vector and relevant telemetry data to ground controllers and other suitably equipped planes on an automatic basis,” he said.

The system is believed to improve safety and efficiency of global air-traffic

"This project will help us to master growing demand for air transportation and to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” said Sven Carstensen, CEO of Thales Alenia Space Germany.
   

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