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ST Electronics, CAAS, GomSpace to explore space-based technology for air traffic control

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Singapore Technologies Electronics (ST Electronics) and GomSpace signed on Thursday a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore the use of space-based technology for air traffic management.

THE Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Singapore Technologies Electronics (ST Electronics) and GomSpace signed on Thursday a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore the use of space-based technology for air traffic management.

In a joint statement, the three said that space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) communications, which is the next level of communications capability, would complement Singapore's existing ground-based equipment and improve air traffic management and safety in and around the Singapore Flight Information Region.

"It is a concept where VHF communications equipment are mounted onto a constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites to enable clear, cost-effective and real-time communications between air traffic controllers and pilots anywhere," they said.

The technology is expected to improve safety and enable the safe reduction in separation between aircraft in airspace where groundbased VHF communications is currently not available, increasing air traffic management capacity and reducing delays for aircraft in turn.

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VHF communications is currently not available over some parts of the South China Sea, due to the difficulty of siting ground-based equipment. Space-based VHF communications can surmount such limitations, the companies said.

With this collaboration, Singapore will be the first country in the world to move towards space-based VHF communications.

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