Insights Into the FAA Official Hosted Payload Strategy

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to embrace Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) hosted payload solutions to enhance aviation safety.

“Satellite navigation is a cornerstone of the FAA’s modernization plans as outlined by the FAA NextGen Implementation Plan. Such navigation systems and their augmentation will be important enablers for NextGen activities,” said Deanne Bunce, the FAA’s WAAS Program Manager, in a recent Satellite Today article.


The article highlighted how Satmex, owned by Eutelsat Communications, is collaborating with Boeing and Raytheon to  carry a WAAS hosted payload on the Satmex-9 satellite to help the FAA support this strategy.

“Distribution of the WAAS service by [geostationary] satellites will continue to be a fundamental part of the system. The FAA will continue to work with the satellite community to identify satellites of opportunity in line with our sustainment strategy and FAA acquisition policy,” added Bunce.

Intelsat also has significant experience in this arena through its work with Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions on the FAA Geostationary Satellite Communications Control Segment (GCCS) contract, which dates back to 2003.

Lockheed Martin originally contracted with Intelsat and Telesat for hosting of L1/L5 GCCS WAAS navigation payloads on Galaxy 15 and Anik-F1R. (See here for a case study). These space payloads provide leased services under the FAA’s GCCS contract with Lockheed Martin, which was contracted to provide up to three satellites through the year 2016.

These hosted payloads provide the capability for the development of more standardized monitoring of precision approaches, missed approaches, and departure guidance for approximately 4,100 runways and hundreds of heliport/helipads in the National Air System.  WAAS also provides the capability for increased accuracy in position reporting, allowing for more uniform and high-quality worldwide air traffic management.

By leveraging access to commercial satellite platforms, the FAA continues to advance its mission of making aviation safer and more reliable.  Hosted payloads will continue to play a critical role in the FAA NextGen plan for many years to come.

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