ADS-B Technologies hails space first

Alaska’s ADS-B Technologies has given the first public demonstration of its space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) surveillance system.

ADS-B said its tests, conducted in late April, demonstrated that highly accurate, reliable and low latency surveillance is now possible at any altitude and over any terrain from virtually anywhere on earth.

“We chose the worst possible conditions for the test, assuming that if we could prove that an aircraft could be reliably tracked only a few hundred feet off the ground in a 4,000-foot deep mountain pass, then it could be tracked just about anywhere else on earth,” said Skip Nelson, ADS-B Technologies president. “The data that we collected from two aircraft sometimes flying in close formation clearly demonstrates that we have a viable system. Over-the-horizon, or space-based ADS-B, is now a reality.”

The technology termed ADS-B Link Augmentation System, or ALAS is a true over-the-horizon surveillance system. It is capable of delivering an uncorrupted 1090ES or UAT payload to an ATC automation system in real-time from remote, oceanic, or mountainous areas where a conventional line of sight connection to a terrestrial ADS-B ground station is either impossible or impractical.

The company said it is also designed to be unobtrusive and subordinate to conventional line of sight ADS-B and therefore will not interfere with normal payload delivery to other aircraft and to ground stations.

ADS-B said ALAS is designed to be a simple, economical and easily installed aftermarket enhancement to virtually any 1090 MHz or 978 MHz ADS-B avionics source. User costs, some of which will be borne by ATC and some by airlines themselves, are forecast to be significantly lower than current rates associated with similar, yet less capable, services like ADS-C.

ALAS has been in development since 2009 and a fully certified version is expected by mid 2014. ADS-B Technologies has partnered with Globalstar to transmit data between the aircraft and its strategically placed satellite ground stations around the world.

Read More: Space Race

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