Iridium, the Bethesda, Maryland-based satellite communications provider, has signed an agreement with Astrium Services that will see the latter, an EADS, subsidiary, becoming a value-added reseller of satellite communication equipment and services to its civil and defense customers worldwide.
EADS Astrium’s plans to move into the space tourism market, revealed last week to a VIP audience and represented here by a full-scale mockup of a hybrid spaceplane’s forward fuselage and its business-jet-like cabin, depend on raising money from the private sector.
Satellite communications provider Iridium is inching closer to obtaining ICAO and FAA approvals permitting airlines use of its service for transmitting safety-of-flight messages to ATC on oceanic routes and over the North Pole.
Avidyne has selected XM WX Satellite Weather to provide broadcast datalink weather for the avionics maker’s FlightMax EX500 multifunction displays and FlightMax Entegra cockpit. Information about hardware pricing and availability will be announced at EAA’s AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., later this month, an Avidyne spokesman said.
For many years, companies such as Space Expeditions, Space Adventures and even some airlines have been seriously talking about lofting paying passengers into space on privately operated (non-governmental) vehicles. When Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne won the X-Prize on Oct. 5, 2004, it dawned on people that this idea was a real near-term probability.
Iridium disclosed plans for a future constellation to replace the 66 low-earth-orbit satellites that make up its current satcom network. Speaking at the Satellite 2007 conference in Washington, D.C., company officials said the “Iridium Next” constellation will maintain the current service’s “cross-linked” architecture but will use Internet Protocol technology to deliver broadband data and voice communications services to users.
Iridium last month disclosed plans for a future satellite constellation to replace the 66 low-earth-orbit satellites that make up its current satcom network.
A British aerial filming business played a small part in last month’s successful landing of a European Space Agency probe on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. Helifilms, the firm that delivered the aerial TV pictures at last year’s Athens Olympics (AIN, October 2004, page 113), helped develop the drogue parachutes that lowered the probe safely onto the moon’s surface.
Datalink weather may be nothing new, but many believe it is much improved thanks to subscription-based services from XM Satellite Radio that are taking the aviation world by storm.
While the FAA’s current WAAS network offers equipped users with improved GPS performance across the continental U.S. and Alaska, it still does not provide the redundancy and reliability required from an aviation navigation service. So the FAA has now contracted to obtain additional geostationary satellites (GEOs) to rectify this shortcoming.