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Mid-Earth Orbiting Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) Transition to Operations. RCC Controller Conference February 2010. Overview. DASS Overview International MEOSAR Space Segment Ground Segment User (Beacon) Segment Program Activities Summary. Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS).

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Mid earth orbiting search and rescue meosar transition to operations

Mid-Earth Orbiting Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) Transition to Operations

RCC Controller Conference

February 2010


  • DASS Overview

  • International MEOSAR

  • Space Segment

  • Ground Segment

  • User (Beacon) Segment

  • Program Activities

  • Summary

MEOSAR Transition to Operations

Distress alerting satellite system dass
Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS)

Various studies determined that medium-earth orbiting (MEO) satellites provide a vastly improved space-based distress alerting and locating system.

NASA, with USAF Space and Air Combat Command, NOAA, and USCG are developing a capability on GPS satellites– Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS)

DASS provides:

406 MHz “bent-pipe” repeaters on GPS - Alert data downlink freely available internationally

Full compatibility with existing and future 406 MHz beacons

Support for civilian and military SAR responsibilities

Low technical risk, low cost

DASS fully interoperable with similar proposed Russian (SAR/GLONASS) and European (SAR/Galileo) systems

Supports U.S. Policy on Space-Based Positioning, Navigation & Timing Policy – S&R on GPS

Distress alert satellite system dass
Distress Alert Satellite System (DASS)

Current SARSAT systems in LEO and GEO

Beacon activation recorded within 10 min

Location determined within 1-2 hours with 5 km accuracy

GPS MEOSAR vastly improves capability

Instantaneous Notification & Location

Multiple Locations Means

Global Coverage

100% Availability

No Terrain Blockage

Improved Accuracy

NASA/NSARC led Proof-of-Concept includes repeater on GPS IIR, IIR-M, and IIF SVs

S-Band downlink – not allocated for operational use

SAR Aircraft



Dass proof of concept
DASS Proof-of-Concept

DASS Proof-of-Concept (POC) underway

Nine on-orbit GPS Block IIR satellites carry DASS repeaters

12 Additional IIR satellites + all Block IIF satellites to host repeaters

POC system uses existing GPS. Downlink at S-Band (Not ITU-allocated for SAR)

Proof-of-Concept results to date:

Demonstrated ability to locate beacons to greater than current Cospas-Sarsat accuracy using two or more satellites

System meets/exceeds theoretical capabilities

Tests are on-going

Prototype ground station at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

4 antennas – capable of independently tracking 4 satellites

Completed in 2008

Successfully passed acceptance testing

May become future operational MEOLUT

Operational MEOLUT Wahiawa Hawaii

6 antenna – capable of tracking 6 satellites either S-band or L-band

Planned completion Fall 2010

International meosar cooperation
International MEOSAR Cooperation

European Commission / European Space Agency

Interoperability between SAR/Galileo and DASS part of US/EU Agreement on GPS and Galileo

Interoperability to be addressed by Cospas-Sarsat

Interoperability parameters specified in MEOSAR Implementation Plan

Declaration of Intent to Cooperate was signed in October 2006


US/Russia Agreement on GPS/GLONASS interoperability under review

Agreement in Principle (April 2003) for interoperability with SAR/Glonass

Two working groups established to address interoperability – WG-2 addresses search and rescue - 6th meeting of WG-2 in May 2009


Has agreed to supply DASS repeater instruments to fly on GPS Block III

Contribution to DASS is worth approximately $90M

30 June 2006 letter (Canadian National Search and Rescue Secretariat to NOAA)

Similar to present SARSAT Instrument on POES

High-level efforts to make DASS official mission on GPS in progress

High-level discussions with GPS III program in progress

Cospas sarsat of tomorrow meosar
Cospas-Sarsat of Tomorrow: MEOSAR

Russia (GLONASS), USA (GPS aka DASS) and ESA/EC (SAR/Galileo) working to include 406 MHz repeater instruments on future medium Earth altitude orbiting (MEO) satellite constellations

Constellations will be fully compatible

Coordinating with C-S onspecifications and compatibility

Global detection + location:

Beacon without embedded GPS - greater than Cospas-Sarsat accuracy with 3 bursts or less

Self-locating beacons - GPS accuracy after single beacon burst

Test alerts could be available in the USMCC starting in 2012 (Nine DASS test satellites currently in orbit)

Space segment
Space Segment




Deployment Phase

Full Constellation


MEOSAR Transition to Operations


Ground segment
Ground Segment

Deployment Phase

Global Capability




MEOSAR Transition to Operations


Mid earth orbiting search and rescue meosar transition to operations

Ground Segment

#8: 01 January 2017 – 53 Satellites – 17 MEOLUTs (100%)

#3: 01 January 2012 – 18 Satellites – 11 MEOLUTs (53.1%)

#2: 30 June 2011 – 11 Satellites – 9 MEOLUTs (3.8%)

#1: 01 January 2011 – 5 Satellites – 8 MEOLUTs (0%)

#6: 30 June 2013 – 30 Satellites – 14 MEOLUTs (83.1%)

#5: 01 January 2013 – 26 Satellites – 14 MEOLUTs (81.7%)

#7: 01 January 2015 – 31 Satellites – 16 MEOLUTs (98.4%)

#4: 30 June 2012 – 20 Satellites – 13 MEOLUTs (65.0%)

Edmonton (8)

Kinloss (2)

Moscow (4)

Kinloss (4)

Goose Bay (8)

Ussurijsk (4)

Ottawa (4)

Toulouse (4)

Ankara (2)

Ankara (4)

Beijing (6)

Beijing (4)

Algiers (4)

Maryland (4)

Maryland (6)

Hawaii (6)

Bangalore (6)

Brasilia (4)

Brasilia (2)

Cape Town (6)

Perth (6)

Wellington (6)

Punta Arenas (6)


User beacon segment
User (Beacon) Segment


Requirement Definition

Modify T.001 Specifications

New Beacon Sales

Beacon Development

ICAO/IMO Updates

National Standards Update

MEOSAR Transition to Operations


Program activities
Program Activities


D&E Planning


Development of Ground Segment Specifications and Data Distribution Procedures

Commissioning of Ground Segment Equipment



MEOSAR Transition to Operations



Space Segment

Ground Segment

New User/Beacon Segment

Development of Specifications and Data Distribution Procedures



MEOSAR Transition to Operations



  • Space segment could be first component of system to be fully deployed (by 2013)

  • Full Operational Capability dependent on global deployment of a ground segment

    • Installation, location and schedule of ground segment deployment is highly speculative and provided for planning purposes only

  • Schedule assumes many concurrent activities

  • Some activities may be dependent on others for completion

  • Full Operational Capability not dependent on new beacons

  • Activities do not consider schedule risk

MEOSAR Transition to Operations