2976-Satellite Air Traffic Management Constellation: Skykraft Satellite Filings Now Available

Skykraft, a leading provider of global space-enabled air traffic management services, has achieved a major milestone in its mission to revolutionize the aviation industry. On Sunday, March 17th, 2024, the company announced that its spectrum filing for a constellation of 2976 satellites has been accepted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). This acceptance brings Skykraft one step closer to providing full-service space-enabled ADS-B and VHF communications services by 2026.

The constellation, which will be comprised of 10 prototype satellites launched and tested in 2023, will provide the world’s first comprehensive space-enabled air traffic management service. This innovative service is expected to greatly enhance aviation safety and make air travel more sustainable, efficient, and resilient.

In preparation for the launch of the operational constellation, Skykraft plans to launch further pre-production satellites in 2024, followed by an additional 50 satellites in 2025. The number of satellites will continue to grow in the following years.

Skykraft has been working closely with air navigation service providers for three years to ensure that its space-enabled air traffic management services meet their requirements. In 2023, the company successfully demonstrated the use of space-enabled VHF in a joint trial with Airservices Australia. This trial, which took advantage of Australia’s remote location, utilized a VHF payload in Skykraft’s satellites to demonstrate the feasibility of direct communication between satellites and aircraft using their currently installed radios.

In addition to supporting the work of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Skykraft is also actively involved in adapting existing international standards to allow access to space-enabled services. This process has been further supported by the recent approval by the World Radio Congress for the use of VHF aeronautical frequencies from space.

VHF radios are standard equipment on aircraft worldwide and are essential for maintaining safe air travel. Skykraft’s use of satellites to complement ground-based radio systems will enable seamless global real-time communication between pilots and air traffic controllers for the first time. This will greatly improve safety by ensuring correct separations between aircraft and support the aviation industry’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by reducing environmental emissions and increasing fuel efficiency.

The use of space-enabled services will also increase the efficiency of the aviation industry by reducing flight delays, which has been estimated to cost the United States, Europe, and Australia $67.5 billion per year. Additionally, Skykraft’s services will greatly enhance the resilience of air traffic management systems by providing high levels of redundancy, ensuring continued high-performance management of air traffic even when current satellite navigation systems are degraded or unavailable.

Dr. Michael Frater, CEO of Skykraft, expressed his excitement about this latest development, stating, “Skykraft looks forward to using this filing to contribute to global goals to improve safety, sustainability, efficiency, and capacity in aviation. Our space-enabled air traffic management services will be available for testing in 2025 and operational service in 2026. This service will bring significant benefits to oceanic and remote regions and improve performance in the world’s most congested airspace.”

Skykraft’s Air Traffic Management Constellation will provide VHF voice and data communications, as well as surveillance services using ADS-B and UAT. The constellation will also offer multi-lateration services for the validation of ADS-B and UAT messages received from aircraft, as well as independent aircraft position data in the event of GNSS failure. The initial constellation is set to enter service in 2025.

Headquartered in Australia, Skykraft is dedicated to delivering innovative air traffic management services to the global market. Utilizing a small satellite approach and dedicated ATM infrastructure, the company aims to introduce competition into a monopoly market and set new standards for space-enabled ATM. For media inquiries, please contact Iwan Morris at iwan.morris@skykraft.com.au or by phone at +61 (0)408 137956.

This news article was distributed by Pressat, a leading UK-based press release distribution service.

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