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Inmarsat has completed a Technical Assistance Contract under Phase A of the Iris programme, where the European Space Agency (ESA) has embarked on the development of a new satellite to aircraft communication standard in support of both safety of life and aircraft operational communication. The purpose of Inmarsat’s involvement was to assist the Agency in determining suitable options to be further developed towards eventual validation and deployment.
The work was structured in five tasks:
The benefits of pursuing an ATM strategy based on SwiftBroadband are:
Within the aeronautical domain today, Inmarsat with its partner JCAB, are the only operators that deliver operationally approved satellite datalink safety services. Service is delivered via the Classic Aero system and is currently approved for Oceanic operations. The Classic Aero service is thus an essential component of the worldwide ATM system.
Today, more than 6750 air transport aircraft are equipped with Classic Aero and roughly over a third routinely use it for Future Air Navigation System (FANS) service. Almost all new wide body aircraft delivered by Airbus and Boeing are equipped with Classic Aero satcom FANS capability.
Inmarsat’s latest aeronautical service, SwiftBroadband, supports IP data services up to 432kbit/s, streaming rates up to 128kbit/s plus voice and ISDN on a worldwide basis via Inmarsat’s geostationary satellites.
SwiftBroadband (SB) entered commercial service in September 2007. SwiftBroadband terminals include both high-gain (Class 6) and intermediate gain (Class 7) variants.
Within Iris Phase A Inmarsat researched the potential to extend the SB Safety Service capability to include the requirements for Continental Airspace operations. This would require modifications to the ground segment in order to meet the more stringent latency and reliability requirements, and would also involve system modifications to enable new, smaller, low-cost avionics. This paper describes system modifications that would support a potential Low-Gain SB terminal with data rates between 25kbps and 50kbps depending upon elevation angle to the satellite. Performance of the SB air interface in support of future ATM requirements has been assessed and the potential for optimisation has been presented.
Inmarsat has detailed the potential for integration with its planned multicast network infrastructure so that one-to-many ATM applications such as weather data can be routed efficiently.
This Phase A Technical Assistance contract has been completed.