Cospas-Sarsat, the international distress alert and location system that uses satellites to detect and locate distress beacon signals, is currently deploying its new MEOSAR (Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue System) programme. This complex and high-value programme is intended to dramatically improve both the speed and accuracy for detecting distress beacons. Cospas-Sarsat has therefore placed search-and-rescue receivers on satellites in the United States Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia Federations Glonass, as well as the European GALILEO navigation satellites.
Alongside this, Cospas-Sarsat member nations have instigated the development of second-generation search and rescue distress beacons for aviation, maritime and outdoor search and rescue. These new beacons will be required to be fully compatible with the satellite-based SAR distress alert detection system, MEOSAR, and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and will provide additional rescue functions and increased accuracy.
The new Second Generation beacon technology capability will include an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), an Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB), and a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), all of which must be compliant with the Cospas-Sarsat international standards and are expected to reach market by 2020. For aircraft beacons, ELT’s will have to be compliant with ICAO GADSS by January 2021, for craft with a take-off mass greater than 27,000 kg.
The addition of a new Return Link Service (RLS) for beacons will mean that operators can acknowledge that a distress signal has been received and that help is on the way, alongside developments for PLBs that remain with the person, rather than their craft. For aviation, the new system will remotely activate the ELT for more immediate and precise tracking of the distress signal, aiming to improve the location times for aircraft in distress.
Manufacturers developing these second-generation beacons, and their antennas, must ensure that they are designed to operate the requirements of the latest Cospas-Sarsat Second Generation test standards and regulation.
Authorised Cospas-Sarsat laboratory
TÜV SÜD is one of only five approved laboratories in the world that is authorised to perform search and rescue beacon testing on behalf of Cospas-Sarsat. We are authorised to undertake a range of distress beacon testing, such as ELTs for aviation use, emergency EPIRBs for marine use, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), and search and rescue transponders (SARTs).
We have been active in testing marine products for over 20 years, and our UKAS accreditation enables us to perform type approval work on a wide range of equipment operating at 406 MHz, 243 MHz and 121.5 MHz. We also undertake many other regulatory tests, addressing the various EU Directives (Marine Equipment Directive, Radio Equipment Directive) and requirements of international bodies, such as Industry Canada, the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, and the Federal Communications Commission.
Our certification specialist, TÜV SÜD BABT, is a Notified Body under the Marine Equipment Directive, enabling us to deliver a one-stop service for all testing and certification. This can all be provided from one location with one project manager as your single point of contact - helping you to achieve faster market access for your compliant products.
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