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Satellite trials in Euro ATC

photo: ©INMARSAT Id 371180

It was announced on 20 December that the European Space Agency (ESA) had recently completed its first flight trials using satellites to help bring Europe closer to its goal of modernising air traffic control. These trials are part of the public-private partnership between ESA and UK satellite operator INMARSAT to deliver high-capacity secure digital data links via satellite for air-ground communications for cockpit crews over European airspace under ESA’s Iris Precursor programme.

It is understood that by 2019, Iris Precursor will provide air-ground communications for initial 4D flight path control, pinpointing an aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time. This will enable precise tracking of flights and more efficient management of traffic.