Inmarsat partners with ESSP on IRIS ATP project: Inmarsat announced a cooperation agreement with ESSP (European Satellite Service Provider) to manage final testing, certification, and integration for the Iris air traffic modernisation programme, in preparation for the service’s commercial rollout across Europe by 2023. ESSP, a pan-European aviation service provider, will focus primarily on technical and service delivery preparations for the Iris programme’s upcoming deployment, including approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Iris has been developed by Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA) to enable real-time collaboration between pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operation centre using cost-effective, secure and highly resilient datalink communications. In addition to receiving digital information such as weather updates, this means aircraft can be pinpointed in four dimensions – latitude, longitude, altitude and time – using ‘4D trajectories’ to calculate the shortest available routes and optimum altitudes. This not only improves airspace usage to accommodate future growth, but also allows airlines across Europe to minimise delays, save fuel and reduce the environmental impact of their operations. ESSP was founded in 2009 by seven leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK to operate and provide services for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), a satellite-based navigation system managed by the European Commission. The Iris programme is powered by Inmarsat’s ELERA global satellite network, which delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity, with full global redundancy and unique resilience in all conditions. ELERA capabilities will be enhanced further with the upcoming addition of Inmarsat-6 satellites, the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, the first of which (I-6 F1) is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. The L-band capacity on each I-6 satellite will be substantially greater than Inmarsat’s 4th generation spacecraft and, among other enhancements, delivers 50 percent more capacity per beam in addition to unlimited beam routing flexibility.
Altitude Angel joins Inmarsat programme on Velaris: Inmarsat has announced a new partnership network for its Velaris connectivity solution and confirmed the first member is set to be Altitude Angel, the world’s leading Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology provider. As part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this week, the two companies will explore opportunities to further integrate Inmarsat’s recently launched Velaris connectivity solution for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with Altitude Angel’s market-leading UTM technology. Together, they will offer secure communications for commercial UAVs – commonly known as drones – to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) on long distance flights and access applications, including real-time monitoring, to ensure safe integration with aircraft in commercial airspace. The new agreement will strengthen the existing partnership between Inmarsat and Altitude Angel, which has initially focused on the development of a Pop-Up UTM platform that delivers advanced flight tracking and management capability for UAVs. The solution has already been successfully demonstrated on a number of flights, offering full situational awareness to the operator team and preventing any potential conflicts with commercial aircraft. Velaris is powered by Inmarsat’s ELERA global satellite network, which delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity, with full global redundancy and unique resilience in all conditions. ELERA capabilities will be enhanced further with the upcoming addition of Inmarsat-6 satellites, the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, the first of which (I-6F1) is scheduled to launch before the end of the year.
Commercial UAVs can halve emissions report says: Commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have the potential to almost halve the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of urban freight transport compared to small light commercial vehicles (LCVs), providing an unprecedented opportunity for the logistics industry to reduce its environmental impact, according to a new report by Inmarsat and Cranfield University. As part of the report, ‘UAVs: Unlocking positive transformation in the world’, Cranfield University used its own modelling and primary data resources to compare the CO2 emissions emitted by UAVs and LCVs. An LCV delivering 10 similar sized packages per eight-hour shift over a 5km delivery radius, and following a regular schedule of consecutive deliveries, produces an estimated CO2 emission rate of 3,394 grams per 24 hours (three shifts). In contrast, a large-sized UAV with a 50kg payload operating in the same delivery protocol as the LCV produces 1,800 grams of emissions per 24 hours, a 47 percent reduction. Alternatively, a medium-sized UAV with a 36km range, carrying a 5kg payload under less-than-optimal operating pattern (making separate individual journeys from the central warehouse rather than making consecutive deliveries) was estimated to produce 2,160 grams of carbon dioxide emissions over 24 hours – a significant reduction of 36 percent compared to the equivalent LCV road transport. The report, which analyses both new and existing research, also identifies the many other commercial advantages provided by UAVs to organisations that embrace the technology and adopt new operational methods, with cost and time savings leading to enhanced supply chain and business efficiencies. In addition, it explores the considerable benefits that extend beyond those driven by commercial gain, such as delivering humanitarian and medical aid to remote communities and conflict zones, surveillance to protect endangered animals from poachers and monitoring for illegal deforestation or mining operations. Over the next seven years, the commercial UAV market is projected to increase from US$2.32 billion in 2021 to US$11.29 billion in 2028, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.39 percent during this period. Despite this positive outlook, the new report also recognises the regulatory challenges in allowing UAVs to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and integrate with other air traffic, as well as the need for well-structured regulation that defines the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders that utilise airspace. Download the full report here.