...the who's who,
and the what's what 
of the space industry

Space Careers

news Space News

Search News Archive

Title

Article text

Keyword

  • Home
  • News
  • Celebrating Galileo saving lives at 406 Day

Celebrating Galileo saving lives at 406 Day

Written by  Tuesday, 06 April 2021 05:36
Write a comment
Paris (ESA) Apr 07, 2021
Today is 406 Day - the annual campaigning day to spread awareness of the importance of emergency beacons, and the satellites that pick up their signals, including Europe's Galileo constellation. As well as letting people across the world find their way, Galileo also serves to detect SOS messages and relay them to authorities, contributing to saving many lives. Such detections can happen an

Today is 406 Day - the annual campaigning day to spread awareness of the importance of emergency beacons, and the satellites that pick up their signals, including Europe's Galileo constellation. As well as letting people across the world find their way, Galileo also serves to detect SOS messages and relay them to authorities, contributing to saving many lives.

Such detections can happen anytime, but one recent high-profile incident happened in the midst of the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world yacht race. Skipper Kevin Escoffier had his boat smashed to pieces by fierce waves in the Southern Ocean.

He took to his life raft. As it hit the water it automatically activated his rescue beacon, transmitting a 406 MHz SOS signal for automatic pickup by participating satellites, courtesy of the Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based emergency detecting and locating system. The signal allowed the race authorities to localise Kevin's position within a matter of minutes and send nearby boats to the rescue.

The only system that can independently locate a beacon anywhere on Earth's surface, Cospas-Sarsat has helped save thousands of people since it was first established in 1982. Originally the system operated through transponders hosted aboard either low-Earth orbit or geostationary satellites.

In the last decade Galileo joined Cospas-Sarsat - supported by the European Commission, the system's owner - driving a significant increase in performance. Because they have such a high orbital altitude, at 23 222 km up, while still moving steadily through the sky, Galileo satellites combine broad views of Earth with the ability to facilitate quick determination of the position of a distress signal through a combination of time-based and Doppler ranging.

406 Day
International 406 Day - taking its name from the radio frequency used by Cospas-Sarsat beacons, and the US order of today's date - seeks to remind beacon users to take care to check their batteries and functionality. Such beacons are used aboard boats and ships, also aboard aircraft and are also carried by hikers in the wilderness - anywhere beyond the reach of standard phone-based emergency services.

All the same, an SOS signal can reach the authorities surprisingly swiftly, within a few minutes. First the signal from the beacon is detected automatically by the search and rescue payload aboard participating satellites - often more than one at once - then pinpoints its source on Earth's surface.

Next, this information is relayed - via a set of stations on the corners of Europe, in the case of Galileo-detected signals - then passed to the nearest national rescue centre, at which point the rescue can begin.

The beacons themselves are surprisingly compact in size, typically the size of a medium-sized flashlight. But the search and rescue payloads carried aboard the Galileo satellites in orbit are similarly modest. At only 8 kg in mass, these life-saving payloads consume just 3% of onboard power, with their receive-transmit repeater housed next to the main navigation antenna.

All but the first two of the 26 Galileo satellites in orbit carry these payloads, with two more satellites scheduled to add to their number later this year.

Galileo's Search and Rescue service is Europe's contribution to Cospas-Sarsat, operated by the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency, GSA, and designed and developed at ESA.

The Cospas-Sarsat satellite repeaters are supplemented by a trio of ground stations at the corners of Europe, known as Medium-Earth Orbit Local User Terminals (MEOLUTs), based in Norway's Spitsbergen Islands, Cyprus and Spain's Canary Islands and coordinated from a control centre in Toulouse, France.

This trio is soon to become a quartet, with a fourth station on France's La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

Galileo's participation in Cospas-Sarsat has led in turn to a service innovation - from last year, Galileo has been replying to SOS signals with 'return link messages', assuring those in peril that their signals have been received and help is on the way.

406 Day

Related Links
Cospas-Sarsat
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Tweet

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only



DISASTER MANAGEMENT
At least five dead as Bangladesh ferry sinks after collision
Dhaka (AFP) April 4, 2021
Five people died and rescue workers searched for survivors after a small ferry packed with up to 50 passengers sank having collided with another boat in Bangladesh on Sunday, officials said. The vessel sank in the Shitalakhsya river around 6:00 pm after leaving the central industrial city of Narayanganj, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the capital Dhaka, for the nearby district of Munshiganj, officials told AFP. A local police inspector said the ferry was packed with passengers rushing to leave Na ... read more


Read more from original source...

You must login to post a comment.
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR

* Denotes Required Field
Personal information
Message

Interested in Space?

Hit the buttons below to follow us...