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Iridium satellites are to be replaced using SpaceX rockets.

Will the new LEO satellites be used for continuous tracking of commercial flights?

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    $\begingroup$ Wait, does this mean that iridium flares will stop being a thing? $\endgroup$ – E.P. Nov 13 '16 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ @E.P. from Iridium: 'The Iridium NEXT satellites will launch in 2015-2017 and will have only one antenna instead of three. The new antennas offer increased data speed and capacity but are angled differently than the current design, and are therefore not likely to reflect much sunlight.' They missed the 2015 launch date, so the flares will around a bit longer but they will fade out. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Nov 13 '16 at 19:09
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The next generation of Iridium satellites will have ADS-B receivers installed on them which will be used to track properly equipped aircraft. The company providing this service is Aireon.

Most airliners are already equipped with ADS-B transmitters. From 2020 it is manadatory on the USA and in Europe to have ADS-B.

The first satellite were to be launched earlier this year, but so far nothing has been launched.

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