SpaceX Launch Begins Era of Space-Based ADS-B Tracking

The big news from the SpaceX launch of 10 Aireon Iridium 2G “Next” satellites is that ADS-B was also included on each satellite.

ADS-B is used for tracking and sending ATC digital information to airplanes. The FAA has mandated that almost all aircraft will install ADS-B transceivers before 2020, at a cost of $5,000 to $1 million per airplane, plus downtime.

Since there’s 150,000 registered US aircraft and thousands of foreign airliners, that just isn’t going to happen with the existing number of Mx shops and remaining 1,080 days. 🙂

These are fairly large satellites at 860 kg each:




SpaceX Launch Begins Era of Space-Based ADS-B Tracking
Iridium-1 Hosted Webcast
Layman HN Commentary
W: Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast
faa.gov: ADS-B Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
avweb.com: New Satellites Promise Better ATC Coverage
gpsworld.com: Clocks fail on some Galileo satellites, backups working

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