Galileo’s hunt and rescue use in a spotlight

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Europe’s Galileo satnav network does some-more than let us find a approach – it is also assisting to save lives. Today sees a spotlight expel on Galileo’s Search and Rescue service, that pinpoints people in trouble on land or sea.

Norwegian hunt and rescue

The use is Europe’s grant to a Cospas–Sarsat general satellite-based locating complement that has helped to rescue some-more than 42 000 people given 1982 – a usually complement that can exclusively locate a trouble guide wherever it is activated on Earth.

The use is being rigourously premiered today, a date selected to prominence a Cospas–Sarsat 406 MHz signal.

This new complement has already proven a worth, as Tore Wangsfjord, Chief of Operations during Norway’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre recounted to a satnav assembly in Munich, Germany, final month.

His centre’s shortcoming extends from 55ºN to a North Pole: “The formula with Galileo have been good so far, and will urge with some-more satellites.”


A new rescue was triggered by a trouble vigilance from a crashed helicopter in a distant north of Norway. The trouble vigilance around Galileo arrived during his centre 46 mins before a warning from a existent Cospas–Sarsat, and a identified position valid to be within 100 m of a crash, rather than a stream system’s 1.5 km.

“This is usually one of several real-life trouble situations where it has already shown softened correctness and timing. Galileo will positively minister to saving lives.”

The hunt and rescue package on any Galileo satellite, with a receive–transmit receiver housed subsequent to a incomparable navigation antenna, is usually 8 kg and consumes usually 3% of satellite power.

Galileo within new system

Founded by Canada, France, Russia and a US, Cospas–Sarsat began with payloads on low-orbiting satellites, whose fast orbital suit authorised Doppler trimming of trouble signals, to pinpoint their source.

Galileo hunt and rescue antenna

The obstacle is that they fly so tighten to Earth that their margin of perspective is partially small.

Now Galileo satellites, along with dual other constellations orbiting during middle altitudes, have assimilated Cospas–Sarsat. Because Galileo satellites fly during heights of 23 222 km they mix extended views of Earth with a ability to fast establish a position of a trouble signal.

As Xavier Maufroid of a European Commission told a Munich summit: “The use represented usually 1% of sum Galileo programme costs, though should outcome in thousands of lives being saved.”

Source: ESA

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