Satellite Tech for Distress Signals Detection is Applied Successfully

Satellite Tech for Distress Signals Detection is Applied Successfully


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Canada stands to benefit from a space-related search and rescue system. The country has awarded Phase II of the Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) Ground Segment contract to Thales Canada. This contract will not only enable Canada to attain its obligations under the International COSPAS-SARSAT Program Agreement, but also to respond to distress signals from land, air and sea from coast-to-coast.

COSPAS/SARSAT is an intergovernmental organization founded by Canada, the United States, Russia and France. In operation since 1985, it provides a free global Search and Rescue service, using the infrastructures from 43 countries worldwide. It detects and locates emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and backcountry hikers in distress. Some 500,000 ships and 150,000 aircraft are equipped with distress beacons. Until now, the service has saved over 37,000 lives.

Thales’ MEOLUT Next is a breakthrough technology for search and rescue satellite solutions that will be deployed within the scope of the global COSPAS/SARSAT system.

The Canadian contract features procurement of two MEOLUTs besides maintenance services for five years with an option for another five years, according to

MEOLUT systems use large parabolic antennas and are limited by how many satellite signals they can receive. The MEOLUT Next solution is compact, with measurement of less than 6m2 and can track up to 30 satellites.

MEOLUT Next has been efficiently detecting distress signals more than 5,000km away since 2016. It received and processed the distress signal of a 12m sailboat with three people aboard in less than five minutes and provided accurate positioning to authorities when the boat triggered its COSPAS/SARSAT beacon in July 2017, 70km off the coast of Sardinia.

Thales Canada managing director and vice president Jerry McLean said: “From complex C4ISR systems to integrated maritime C3 and diverse aerospace solutions, this contract further reflects Thales’ continued commitment to Canadian innovation.”

“Today, MEOLUT Next is the only solution in the world capable of processing second-generation beacons in real time.