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Airservices and Skykraft to develop space-based communication

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Airservices Australia and space services company, Skykraft have partnered in the development of a space-based communication and surveillance air traffic management capability.

Under the collaboration, Airservices will share its air navigation, technical engineering and air traffic management expertise to support design, development, and validation of the system, as well as support Skykraft to conduct space-based proof-of-concept trials of a satellite constellation from June 2022.

Airservices Australia is responsible for the safe and efficient management of Australia’s skies as well as providing major airport firefighting services.

Airservices’ Peter Curran said the organisation was increasingly looking to the integration of space-based technologies to enhance air traffic management services.

Curran said: “This is a great opportunity to support an Australian company develop new sovereign capability that has the potential to provide near continuous surveillance reporting and higher fidelity communications that not only benefits Airservices and our customers, but the global aviation industry.

“Space-based technologies provide significant opportunity to enhance safety, efficiency, predictability and capacity, while reducing overall infrastructure costs associated with the current ground-based networks.”

Skykraft executive chairman Air Vice Marshal (retd) Mark Skidmore said the partnership would support the rapid maturation of Skykraft’s satellite constellation which enables surveillance and communication with aircraft at all altitudes and across land and sea.

Skidmore said: “Airservices’ understanding of the ATM requirements and needs will help us design and develop the constellation, as we prepare a 300kg payload for a SpaceX launch in June 2022, to commence our proof-of-concept trials, and strive towards a constellation launch in 2023.”

Picture: Skykraft

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