ITU Approves Spectrum Allocation for Satellite-based Flight Tracking – Satellite Today

WRC-15 Plenary on global flight tracking ITU

WRC-15 Plenary on global flight tracking. Photo: ITU

[Via Satellite 11-12-2015] The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has reached an agreement at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in Geneva to allocate radiofrequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation.

The frequency band 1087.7 to 1092.3 MHz, currently used for line of sight Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) from aircraft to terrestrial stations, has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by orbiting systems. This extends ADS-B signals beyond line-of-sight to facilitate the reporting of aircraft positions when equipped with ADS-B anywhere in the world, including oceanic, polar and other remote areas.

WRC-15 recognized that as the Standards And Recommended Practices (SARP) for systems enabling position determination and tracking of aircraft are developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the performance criteria for satellite reception of ADS-B signals will also need to be addressed by ICAO. This agreement follows the disappearance and tragic loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 in March 2014 with 239 people on board, which spurred worldwide discussions on global flight tracking and the need for coordinated action by the ITU and other relevant organizations.

“The allocation of frequencies for reception of ADS-B signals from aircraft by space stations will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world,” said François Rancy, director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “We will continue to work with ICAO and other international organizations to enhance safety in the skies.”

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