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Spire and Thales to Build Air Traffic Management Constellation 

By Rachel Jewett | June 14, 2024
Spire Global is working with Thales and European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) to build a specialized satellite constellation for air traffic management. Photo: Spire

Spire Global is working with Thales and European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) to build a specialized satellite constellation for air traffic management. Photo: Spire

Spire Global is working with Thales and European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) to build a specialized satellite constellation for air traffic management. The companies announced a memorandum of cooperation on June 13. 

Spire will build more than 100 satellites that will collect Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) messages broadcast from aircraft. This data will provide real-time air traffic surveillance information that Spire said will improve aviation safety, sustainability, and airspace security.

Thales is a leading air traffic management provider and manages 40% of the world’s skies. The company will provide the ground air traffic management system and the service infrastructure. ESSP will manage the certification and the delivery of the service for air traffic surveillance. The system will be designed to meet the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and aviation authorities. 

The partners plan to start the operation of the service by 2027.

“The birth of a satellite constellation fully dedicated to serving the demanding needs of air traffic management, air domain awareness and national security is a groundbreaking development for the aviation industry,” said Philip Plantholt, general manager of Aviation at Spire. “We are poised to offer the first real alternative to the aging systems that exist today and embark on a journey towards even more advanced space-based solutions for aviation.”