OHB subsidiary LuxSpace awarded contract by ESA for study into improved aircraft positioning and monitoring
Betzdorf – LuxSpace, a subsidiary of Bremen-based space technology group OHB SE, is to conduct research into new and innovative approaches to aircraft positioning and monitoring based on the ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Suveillance-Broadcast) process for the European Space Agency ESA.
Known as “AirTracks”, the nine-month study will be developing new services for monitoring manned and unmanned aircraft. They will be used by small and mid-size airports, air traffic controllers and ground staff, allowing them to monitor flight movements more effectively. In this way, it will be possible to monitor airspace more efficiently and particularly also more safely. “ADS-B is a key technology for providing a wide range of traffic monitoring and management services,” explains Dr. Gerd Eiden, head of space applications at LuxSpace. “With this study, we want to devise business models going beyond the previous scope and offering new value-added services.”
The study is to be followed by a demonstration project to develop the most promising ADS-B-based approaches for commercial use in conjunction with potential customers. With the ADS-B process, aircraft are able to determine their position by using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and transmitting this data regularly to ground stations and other aircraft. The study is being conducted with the support of the ESA-ARTES Business Applications Program. Other partners alongside LuxSpace include the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Tekever (United Kingdom) and ANA (Air Navigation Administration) Luxembourg.
For OHB SE, the “AirTracks” project marks a further key contribution towards the strategic goal of expanding service business within the Group. “LuxSpace is playing a pioneering role within the OHB Group in the creation of new services and applications for security and the maritime sector,” says Marco Fuchs, Chief Executive Officer of OHB SE. “The company will be leveraging its long-standing experience in managing ship position data in this project for monitoring airspace.”
LuxSpace was created in November 2004 as a daughter company of OHB SE, one of the three large space-systems companies in Europe. LuxSpace employs around 60 employees and provides know-how in the fields of space system engineering, micro-satellite manufacturing, satellite simulator software development, communication subsystems for geostationary satellites and space-based service application development. LuxSpace is a recognised leading European company in the domain of space-borne AIS (SAT-AIS) services.
ESA’s Business Application
AirTracks is funded by ESA’s Business Application programme (formerly Integrated Applications ARTES Integrated Application Promotion program, (IAP)). The programme, in close partnership with end-users, is dedicated to the development, implementation and pilot operations of Integrated Applications that will lead to sustainable services. The goal is to provide innovative added value to services by combining different space assets, such as Telecommunications, Earth Observation, and Navigation technologies, and by integrating them with existing terrestrial assets.