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Galileo will support global search and rescue service

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 12 Mar 2012

A global search and rescue service will be greatly enhanced by Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system, Galileo.

Partners in Galileo have joined the MEOSAR (Medium Earth Orbit Search And Rescue) program and their satellites will supplement the existing service by carrying transponders that can determine the location of emergency beacons once triggered.

The system will feature two components, a 'Forward Link Alert Service' that will detect and pass on the location of activated emergency beacons to rescue services and, uniquely for a GPS satellite, a 'Return Link Service' that will send a message to the emergency beacon to confirm that the distress signal has been received.

Galileo's In-Orbit Validation Programme already has one transponder installed and on-orbit with two more due to be launched this year. These will be used to test the systems ahead of the full constellation being launched and put into service from 2015 onwards.

Source: ESA

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