The U.S. Coast Guard announced the launch of an ORBCOMM concept demonstration satellite, equipped with Automatic Identification System (AIS) capability, from .
The satellite attained a proper orbit and is expected to start transmitting operational data within the next three months. The U.S. Coast Guard Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) Project sponsored equipment on the satellite to test the feasibility and effectiveness of AIS message reception and reporting from space for ship tracking and other navigational activities. The launch marks an important milestone in the development of the NAIS project.
The NAIS project will improve maritime domain awareness for the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security by using the integrated network of AIS equipment and user interface services that display and exchange AIS-equipped vessel information for maritime safety and security. Data collected by the NAIS supports the nation's maritime interests by promoting vessel and port safety through collision avoidance, and through detection, traffic identification, and classification of vessels out to 2,000 nautical miles from shore.
The NAIS project is being implemented in three primary increments. Increment one, fielded in September 2007, currently provides the capability to receive AIS messages at 55 critical ports and nine coastal areas across the nation. Increment two (with nationwide AIS transmit and receipt coverage) will provide the capability to receive AIS messages out to 50 nautical miles and transmit AIS messages out to 24 nautical miles along the entire coastline of the U.S. and designated inland waterways. Increment three will extend the coverage for receipt of AIS messages out to 2,000 nautical miles from shore. The upcoming satellite testing will assist in the development of Increment three of the NAIS project.