ATC

ESA and Danish partner release obstacle warning system

04 April 2017
The Ascend Obstacle Management Solution enables airport planners and air traffic controllers to assess potential ground obstacles to flights near runways. Source: ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Danish technology company Ascend XYZ have joined forces to develop new satellite-based technology that allows airports to record potential nearby land-based hazards to low-flying traffic or aircraft on approach, such as growing trees or construction cranes.

The system can "support compliance; lower operational costs; and publish obstacle data, increasing flight safety," said an ESA spokesperson.

The Ascend Obstacle Management Solution combines land observation data from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites with web-based software on aircraft and ground-generated data to calculate restricted aerial zones around an airport.

Airports must by law be aware of and warn aviation operators about obstacles. This technology, according to the ESA, would make compliance simpler and cheaper, as today it depends on calculations by teams of specialists.

With Ascend, obstacles can be registered and monitored by non-experts using the system, which generates documents available for air traffic control.

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