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Airplanes and Drones and Helicopters, Oh My!

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How Iridium® connectivity is safely and reliably connecting an evolving, diverse global airspace

Ever wonder how a plane that is flying 400-500 miles per hour, 30,000 feet off the ground remains connected? Enabling aircraft connectivity is so much more than just providing the ability to surf the internet and stream movies in flight. Yes, being able to binge a Netflix show during a long flight is great, but making sure the pilots and crew can effectively communicate with the ground, receive weather reports, alerts and navigation updates, is critical to the safety of our global airspace and requires a robust, reliable and global communications network to make it happen. It is this type of vital communication link that enables global aviation.

For this blog series, we will help simplify this vast market and explain how satellite communications (SATCOM), especially Iridium Connected® technology, helps keep aircraft of all kinds reliably connected, even when flying over the most remote locations. We will fly into the many sub-markets of this industry, explain how the technology works and share some real-world examples of how aircraft are using Iridium SATCOM to stay connected and safe, communicate with the ground, each other and even fly autonomously with Iridium’s Global Line of Sight® service. We will also share how astronauts are relying on Iridium connectivity as part of spaceflight!

But before we get into the nitty gritty technical details, it is important to note that the global airspace of today looks much different than it did just a decade ago. Not only are there more aircraft in general, but there is more diversity among the types of aircraft sharing the skies. Today there are business jets, commercial aircraft, helicopters, military aircraft and even unmanned aircraft, all traveling in close proximity, requiring a level of communication and precision that SATCOM can enable. Alongside this increase in air traffic and diversity comes an ever-increasing demand for data and coverage, raising the stakes for communications and avionics technology providers, and shining a spotlight on the important and unique role Iridium plays in connecting the skies.

For our first deep dive, we will provide an overview of the commercial aviation and transport market, explain how Iridium SATCOM is enabling connectivity for these aircraft and share some real-life applications and examples. To make sure you don’t miss a post, please subscribe to Iridium 360 or follow us on our social channels to see when the next post is live.

If you have any questions or would like more information about Iridium’s aviation products and services, please visit www.iridium.com/aviation.

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