At times, private industry makes a breakthrough that changes the world forever. We saw this earlier this month with SpaceX’s successful launch and return of the Dragon; the same rocket that will launch our Iridium NEXT constellation beginning in 2015.
Today, Iridium made a revolutionary announcement that will transform air traffic management forever.
AireonSM, a planned joint venture between Iridium and NAV CANADA, the world’s largest oceanic ANSP by traffic volume, with support from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and suppliers Exelis and Harris Corporation, will allow fully global and continuous space-based monitoring and control of aircraft, even over oceans and remote regions where it is not possible today.
Iridium is the only company with the capability to enable this kind of venture. We are thrilled that our service will make air travel more efficient and extend the safety of ground-based systems across oceans, through remote regions and to every corner of the Earth.
This is once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that we are uniquely suited for with the launch of Iridium NEXT. Today, less than 10 percent of the Earth is covered by ground-based radar systems, leaving significant coverage gaps over high traffic areas like the North Atlantic. For the first time ever, air traffic management agencies around the globe will be able to continuously track aircraft anywhere they fly now and extend the possibilities of air travel by eliminating the barriers of costly infrastructure for every country on the planet.
And as a longtime private pilot, it is great to be able to talk about an innovation for which I have both a professional and personal passion.
This is truly revolutionary.