Europe Utilizing Satellites for UAV Airspace Integration

The European Space Agency (ESA) and European Defence Agency (EDA) have agreed to continue working together to introduce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into civil European airspace.

According to the ESA, this cooperation is the result of the first DeSIRE (Demonstration of Satellites enabling the Insertion of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in Europe) project carried out in 2012 and 2013, through which the EDA and ESA demonstrated the use of satellites to enable the integration of UAVs in Europe. The ESA says the project demonstrated that UAVs, complemented by satellites, can be safely inserted in non-segregated airspace and thus fulfill user needs in maritime surveillance services.

DeSIRE II, the ESA reports, will demonstrate that services, such as environment and maritime surveillance applications, can be rendered with UAVs flying beyond radio line of sight through the use of safe and secure satellite-based command and control data links.

The ESA notes that this demonstration project will also seek to illustrate the benefits integrating space assets, such as communication satellites, navigation satellites and Earth observation satellites, with terrestrial infrastructure for enabling new services.

The project will further tackle the implementation of an initial set of elements for air traffic management and related safety issues in order to support the evolution of air traffic insertion regulations and standards, the ESA adds.


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