BULATSA has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) under the “BULATSA contribution to Iris validation” project. It is part of ESA’s Fifth Tender Procedure for Bulgaria under the Cooperating States Plan and describes the participation of BULATSA in Phase 2 of the large-scale Iris project.
Iris is a project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and launched in 2007 through a public-private partnership with Inmarsat, a leader in satellite technology. The project aims to develop an air-to-ground satellite communication system for the needs of ATM. The development and implementation of a satellite-based DLS service (data-link services) is necessary due to the limited capacity of the current service – VDL Mode 2.
Currently, Iris has completed Phase 1 of the examination, with the participation of representatives of the European industry (the German Aerospace Research Center (DLR), Thales Alenia Space, Airbus, etc.), as well as European air navigation service providers (ANSPs).
In support of the modernization of ATM systems and given the limitations of the current VDL Mode 2 service, BULATSA monitors the developments in the industry. After series of meetings with Inmarsat and exploring the opportunities provided by ESA’s Cooperating States Plan, BULATSA decided to participate in Phase 2 of Iris.
Phase 2 of the project was officially initiated in March 2020 and includes testing of the service in European airspace. European ANSPs and specially equipped aircrafts will validate the developed functionalities in a real operational environment. In this phase, Inmarsat and ESA should prepare the service for pan-European certification. The goal is for Iris to enter by 2028 as the main means of communication between air traffic controllers and pilots via satellite-based data link.
BULATSA’s participation in the project covers the preparation and conduct of validations, demonstrations and concomitant documentation with operational and technical focus in cooperation with Inmarsat, Eurocontrol, European ANSPs – DFS, DSNA, ENAIRE, LFV, LVNL, Nav Portugal, Romatsa, skyguide, representatives of the industry, etc.
The “BULATSA contribution to Iris validation” project was approved by ESA within the Fifth tender procedure for Bulgaria under the Cooperating States Plan, which was opened at the end of 2019. The project with ESA is planned to be implemented in the period from February 2021 to November 2023, with financing from the fund for cooperating states of ESA E/0908-10 – PECS Bulgaria, according to the Contract between BULATSA and ESA No. 4000133824/21/NL/SC.
Additional information about Iris can be found at https://www.esa.int/Applications/Telecommunications_Integrated_Applications/Iris_for_aviation
Disclaimer: The view expressed in this publication can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.