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AMSA hosts international experts in Cairns

Tuesday 5 March 2013
From 25 February to 1 March we hosted the Cospas-Sarsat Experts’ Working Group on Second-Generation Beacons in Cairns.
Cospas-Sarsat Experts’ Working Group participants, Cairns

A total of 67 participants from 16 countries, including the US, Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, New Zealand and South Africa, were in attendance at the meeting.

In September 2012, the Cospas-Sarsat distress beacon detection system celebrated 30 years of providing distress alerts and locations. Cospas-Sarsat is credited with over 33,000 lives saved in this 30 year period. Cospas-Sarsat is in the process of upgrading its satellite system by placing search and rescue receivers on new GPS satellites, inclusion of navigation satellites of Russia (GLONASS) that began deployment in February 2011, and European GALILEO navigation satellites sent into orbit in October last year. This will dramatically improve both the speed and locational accuracy when detecting alerts from distress beacons.

The focus for the Experts’ Working Group is preparing specifications for the next generation beacons that will engage with the new Medium-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) satellite system, another key project for Cospas-Sarsat. In conjunction with the future MEOSAR system, the new generation beacons will provide better positional accuracy and earlier detection for those relying on them in distress situations. The working group also looks at opportunities to include additional features to future beacon models to enhance their functionality and value to prospective purchasers.