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Startical selects NanoAvionics to test satellite systems for space-based air traffic services

Startical will be the first company to provide air navigation service providers around the world with the option of using integrated space communication and surveillance services to control traffic in oceanic and remote areas.
Photo credit: NanoAvionics

Startical, a collaboration between ENAIRE, Europe’s fourth-largest air navigation services provider, and Indra, a technological company in air traffic systems, is set to use a satellite provided by Kongsberg NanoAvionics, a small satellite company and mission integrator, to conduct tests for its upcoming constellation of over 270 satellites aimed at delivering air traffic services from space.

The chosen satellite, NanoAvionics’s MP42 microsatellite bus, weighing approximately 110 kg, will undergo a series of tests lasting six months to evaluate the performance of VHF radio communication systems and ADS-B surveillance systems directly from space. Operational deployment of the test satellite is expected in 2025.

Following the International Telecommunication Union’s approval last December of the use of the aeronautical communications band from space, Startical sees this initiative as a historic milestone and a significant boost for its pioneering project and a milestone for the aviation world.

J. Enrique González Laguna, CEO of Startical, said: “Our goal is to become the main global provider of air traffic management technology in the space segment and a market leader in satellite surveillance and voice and data communications services. Our constellation will call on highly innovative and distinctive technological solutions, including the incorporation of pioneering links between satellites and the use of artificial intelligence to make controlling them easier.

“Partnering with NanoAvionics will provide us with satellite technology and market-leading experience and allow us to test our new technology. This in turn will open new markets and services for us. They understand our requirements, have the skills to perfectly integrate our technology into their satellite bus and operate it from the ground.”

Žilvinas Kvedaravičius, CEO of NanoAvionics, added: “This is an excellent opportunity for us at NanoAvionics to become Startical’s partner. We will bring our leadership and expertise in small satellite technology, which will be ideally complemented by Startical’s advanced vision of air traffic management. We are committed to this mission and we will strive to demonstrate the capabilities and ongoing reliability of our small platform and mission services geared towards the customer.

“We are striving to speed up the deployment and lifespan of our systems in space in order to move New Space initiatives such as Startical on to their next phase of development. Bringing performance standards to the industry requires the robust quality and procedural assurance to which we are dedicated”.