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International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)



The International Civil Aviation Organization promotes the safe and orderly development of civil aviation worldwide. ICAO develops international air transport standards and regulations and serves as the medium for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation.

Satellite technology applications

ICAO utilizes satellite technology for its ICAO CNS/ATM Systems. Satellites are used to support communications in remote and oceanic air spaces. ICAO distributes meteorological data via satellites. Satellite technologies are also used for support of search and rescue services, and global navigation coverage for all phases of flight.

ICAO's Inter-Agency activities include:

  • implementation of the World Area Forecast System in co-ordination with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO);
  • enhancements to aircraft emergency locator systems in co-ordination with COSPAS-SARSAT;
  • development of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in co-ordination with IMO; and
  • work on spectrum issues in co-ordination with ITU and IMO.

During the 11th Air Navigation Conference held by ICAO from 22 September to 3 October 2003, a number of issues relating to space were raised. Among them were:

  • electromagnetic spectrum for satellite-based communications and navigation (ITU WRC-2003);
  • developments in provision of Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Service; and
  • transition to satellite-based navigation

The Conference reviewed the status of core satellite constellations and augmentation systems, addressed GNSS vulnerabilities and mitigation methods, maintained the ultimate goal of transition to GNSS as a global system, and determined directions for future GNSS development.

ICAO policy on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is formulated as follows:

"The global navigation satellite system (GNSS) should be implemented as an evolutionary progression from existing global navigation satellite systems, including the United States' global positioning system (GPS) and the Russian Federation's global orbiting navigation system (GLONASS), towards an integrated GNSS over which Contracting States exercise a sufficient level of control on aspects related to its use by civil aviation. ICAO shall continue to explore, in consultation with Contracting States, airspace users and service providers, the feasibility of achieving a civil internationally controlled GNSS."

Contact information

International Civil Aviation Organization
999 University Street
Quebec H3C 5H7

Telephone: +(1) (514) 954 82 19
Facsimile: +(1) (514) 954 60 77

Web:    http://www.icao.int/
E-mail: icaohq@icao.int

Contact information:

Office for Outer Space Affairs
Vienna International Centre
P.O. Box 500, A - 1400 Vienna
Phone: (43-1) 26060-4950
Fax: (43-1) 26060 5830
E-mail: OOSA@unvienna.org

© 2007 UNOOSA, All Rights Reserved