Smallsats, Hosted Payload, Aircraft Safety, and ADS-B Navigation Services

Living reference work entry


The role of small satellites in the future of aviation safety is large and growing in importance.

There are many advantages that can come from the use of small satellite constellations as well as hosted payloads on small satellites to accomplish new capabilities related to aircraft navigation and safety. One of these ways is to provide more precise tracking of aircraft on an entirely global basis. This chapter describes how the hosted payload system, known as Aerion, is now deployed on the Iridium NEXT System. This innovation is just one of the ways that small satellite constellations and host payloads on these systems can provide new capability in such important ways as air safety and air traffic management. Aerion is just one example. More new companies to provide ADS-B services will develop in time. Other small satellite demonstrations of ADS-B such as the CAN-X7 are now launched, and GomSpace has a small satellite designed to carry out ADS-B services. New and improved ADS-B capabilities will continue to develop, and it seems likely that these will evolve using advanced small satellite design concepts.

This chapter will trace the history of development of what is formally called automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B). In particular it will explore the use of small satellite systems and hosted payload technology to prove this vital new service and to implement a fully functional program around the world. This new approach to air navigation and exact location of aircraft in the sky will be predominately using small satellite technology and systems for reasons explained in this presentation. This new technology can in time change the entire concept of air traffic management (ATM) and enhance air safety.


Airborne collision avoidance systems/traffic collision avoidance (ACAS/TCAS) Aireon Air navigation service providers (ANSP) Air traffic management (ATM) Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) Aviation safety Aviation navigation CAN-X7 Chicago Convention Communications, navigation, and surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) Flight information regions (FIRs) GomSpace Global navigation satellite services (GNSS) Hosted payloads Instrument landing system (ILS) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) National Aeronautical Service Providers Paris Convention PROBA-V Universal access transceiver (UAT) Unmanned traffic management (UTM) 


  1. Aireon. resources. Last Accessed 20 Aug 2019
  2. Convention on International Civil Aviation – Document 7300. Last Accessed 20 Aug 2019
  3. Convention Relating to the Regulation of Aerial Navigation Journal of Air Law and Commerce. Last Accessed 19 Aug 2019
  4. eoPortal Directory ADS-B.: Last Accessed 20 Aug 2019
  5. ICAO. Last Accessed 20 Aug 2019
  6. T. H. Nguyen, N. Tsafnat, E. Cetin, B. Osborne, T. F. Dixon, Low-Earth orbit satellite constellation for ADS-B based in-flight aircraft tracking. Last Accessed 20 Aug 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Foundation for Aviation, Aerospace and DronesNew DelhiIndia

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