LA JOLLA, Calif.–March 14, 2006 –Blue Sky Network (BSN) today announced that Steve Fossett’s latest record-breaking flight attempt will rely on its satellite based flight tracking, voice, mapping and telemetry solutions. Fossett took off this morning from Salina, Kansas to set the “Absolute Closed Circuit Distance Record” and will land on Friday back in Salina. The route he is taking will be just more than 40,615 km.
The primary equipment Blue Sky Network is supplying consists of an Iridium-based D-1000 mobile tracking and telemetry terminal with embedded GPS. Separate voice equipment will also allow Fossett to keep in touch with technical support and mission control personnel on the ground. The D-1000 receives inputs from aircraft sensors for critical data such as fuel consumption, and is programmed to transmit onboard data through BSN’s interactive Web portal, SkyRouter.
Blue Sky Network’s Website–www.blueskynetwork.com –will provide near real-time tracking of the flight to allow people to follow Fossett’s progress from anywhere they have an Internet connection. Featuring SkyRouter, the Website will contain updates and details of the record attempt including speed, altitude and elapsed flight time.
“This flight is another great opportunity to showcase the global coverage and strong features of our equipment. The challenges Steve Fossett will face on this flight are a microcosm of those faced by private and commercial pilots,” said Jon Gilbert, president of Blue Sky Network. “The Blue Sky Network and Iridium equipment ensures that pilots have the global tracking and two-way communications they need to be in constant contact with ground control.”
“With Iridium’s pole-to-pole coverage, Steve Fossett will never be out of touch during his record-breaking flight,” said Don Thoma, executive vice president of Iridium Satellite. “This is a great example of how Iridium’s value added partners, such as Blue Sky Network, develop innovative packages to provide critical voice and data links for a wide range of customer applications.”
In two of Fossett’s previous flights (February 2005 and February 2006), Blue Sky Network supplied the Iridium D-1000 satellite terminal and a voice channel on the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer. Thousands of position and telemetry reports (engine data, etc.) and numerous email messages containing updates were passed between the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer and ground control through the use of Blue Sky Network’s communication equipment and SkyRouter mapping solution.
This latest record-attempt is different from Fossett’s previous flights. The “Absolute Closed Circuit Distance Record” was not broken by the GlobalFlyer in February 2005 because the distance around the turn points was 36,898 km. The GlobalFlyer flight in February 2006 was strictly a distance record, since the start and finish points were at different locations.