14 April 2021 10:44
The European Union is pursuing its ambition to make Galileo a unique asset to help Search and Rescue teams to save lives around the world. Galileo became a game-changer in the Search And Rescue community since December 2016 by bringing the power of a global constellation of MEOSAR satellites to the Cospas-Sarsat network.
Global 24/7 watch, unprecedented detection speed of the distress signals, improved accuracy were the starters, and a major innovative step was taken with the release of the SAR/Galileo Return Link Service in January 2020.
As part of this vision, the European Commission entrusted the SERENITY consortium, led by Telespazio France, to prototype and demonstrate a planned evolution of the SAR/Galileo service, to be fully integrated into the existing Cospas-Sarsat system: the Two Way Communication Service (TWC). SERENITY project was kicked-off on January 14th 2021 and will last 18 months.
Two Way Communication: a step forward to save more lives
The SAR/Galileo service is already providing both following services:
- SAR/Galileo Forward Link for which Galileo satellites relay signals from Cospas-Sarsat
compatible 406MHz distress beacons to specific ground terminals;
- SAR/Galileo Return Link: a Galileo unique feature, which allows the relay of data back
to the originating distress beacon, providing the user with the confirmation that the alert has been localised by the Cospas-Sarsat system. The SAR/Galileo Two Way Communication (TWC) service will take a step further by enabling communication between compatible distress beacons and the Rescue Coordination Centre in charge of the rescue mission, through predefined questions and answers. Such a service will help rescue teams to deploy adequate resources, improving worldwide SAR operations. The
TWC service will also reinforce the Return Link Service benefit of reducing the panic level of the distress beacon user and further boost survival rates.
SERENITY will establish the TWC service and mission requirements meeting the users’
needs that will be collected through a wide consultation of the SAR community. Based on these requirements, specification, design and development of a prototype beacon will be conducted, leading to the service demonstration involving this prototype and the whole SAR operational chain, to be disseminated towards the SAR community including the Cospas-Sarsat programme.
The User Consultation has already started. It is performed through a questionnaire including specific questions for each type of user. The questionnaire is available online here : http://tinyurl.com/EU-TWC-User-consultation-2021
Credit image : freepik