European cooperation for safer skies

15 September 2016

ESA and the SESAR Joint Undertaking are set to work more closely in modernising air traffic management through satellite-based communications.

A memorandum of cooperation (MoC) signed today will foster even closer ties between their technical programmes and align key milestones.

The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme promises to boost efficiency, capacity and performance for managing air traffic worldwide. ESA’s Iris programme will provide the satcoms technology for this.

By 2018, Iris 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.

High-capacity digital data links via satellite carrying this information to cockpit crews in continental and oceanic airspace are expected to become the norm, with voice communications used only for specific operations.

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Controlling flight paths with 4D is saferAccess the image

By 2028, Iris will enable full 4D trajectory management over airspaces across the globe and the data link will be the primary means of communications between controllers and cockpit crews.

The MoC will ensure that the future capabilities of Iris are aligned with the datalink applications defined by SESAR programme.

The MoC was signed by Magali Vaissiere, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, and Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of the SESAR JU.

The signing took place at ESA headquarters in Paris in the presence of David Bowen, Chief of ATM at SESAR.

Mrs Vaissiere commented: “The close cooperation between ESA and the SESAR Joint Undertaking lays the foundations for a smooth transition to satellite-based air-ground communications for future air traffic management.”

Mr Guillermet added: “Satellite communications is a cornerstone of the future air transport system. This cooperation agreement with ESA will enable us to forge ahead with our ATM modernisation plans, ensuring the foreseen cost and operational efficient approach to air-ground communications.”

For further information, please contact:

Margherita Buoso

ESA Communication Officer for Telecommunications and Integrated Applications

Tel: +44 1235 444 293

Mob: +44 7557 503578


Email: margherita.buoso@esa.int

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