Skykraft celebrates anniversary of satellite ATC network


Satellite communications manufacturer Skykraft has celebrated the one year anniversary of the launch of five Skykraft-3 satellites on the 13th of June 2023.

The satellites have paved the way for the company to roll out its space-enabled VHF communications and ADS-B surveillance system for Air Traffic Management with operational service commencing in late 2026, according to the company.

The satellites provide voice radio communications in the VHF band between pilots and air traffic controllers anywhere on Earth.

Until now, while VHF radios are standard aircraft equipment they are only useful when an aircraft is within range of a ground-based radio.

The CEO of Skykraft Dr Michael Frater said: “Celebrating the one-year anniversary of Skykraft-3 is a proud moment for our entire team.

“The satellite’s exceptional performance over the past year provides a firm foundation to launch our full operational constellation in 2026 which will make aviation safer and more sustainable by increasing efficiency and improving resilience.

“This milestone is a testament to our team’s hard work, resilience, and innovative spirit.”

The Canberra based company said Skykraft-3 had met all its mission goals and demonstrated the capability to receive aircraft ADS-B signals and transmit and receive voice in the VHF aviation band.

This had demonstrated the feasibility of satellite communication directly with aircraft using existing radio equipment, and carrying out software updates in orbit.

“The satellites are still operational and continue to provide valuable test data as we prepare to roll out our full constellation.”

Skykraft is in the process of building a large constellation of satellites in low-earth orbit to provide global air traffic management services from space, providing:

  • VHF voice communications
  • VHF data communications
  • Surveillance services using ADS-B and UAT
  • And multi-lateration services for validation of ADS-B and UAT messages received from aircraft, and independent aircraft position data in the event of GNSS failure or spoofing.

Further reading:
Skykraft delivers space-based VHF communication for Air Traffic Management

Picture: Skykraft

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