AppSTARs can Track Entire Flights in the World: NASA

NASA's reconfigurable radioThe air traffic controllers and pilots will be able to track entire flights; even these planes fly across the oceans. The 66 Iridium Next satellites already exist in orbit and these satellites are well-equipped with reconfigurable radios known as “AppSTAR”. NASA built these satellites together with Florida-based Harris Corporation. These satellites (AppSTARs) have the capability of transmitting heavy amount of data compared to the current radio communication networks of NASA. These satellites can be reconfigured from a considerable amount of distance using software upgrades. It allows NASA to modify them for upcoming future missions. These new radios will enable plane tracking over oceans because they are well-designed to receive signals from transceivers of new airplane and this system is known as ADS-B.

Then, the transceivers will automatically send out number of flight, its current location and other important information. The engineer Jeff Anderson from Harris systems said that this system has the capability for tracking entire flights in the world and these flights can be tracked within seconds after the radios are operational. This capability of tracking would allow entire flights to fly with less space between them. The flights may use a shorter route in order to save fuel, but it might be risky for colliding in the mid-air due to shorter distance among planes. It will be more helpful if anything goes wrong, the search operation teams will be able to reach at the exact location of missing plane. Point to be noted that a flight of SpaceX has dropped first 10 Iridium Next satellites to orbit earlier in January 2017 and more satellites will be dropped in the orbit in 2017.

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