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Singapore enhances search and rescue capabilities with new satellite technology

Nurdianah Md Nur | July 25, 2017
The S$8.4 million Medium-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) ground system will be fully operational next year.

Credit: GraphicStock

To enhance search and rescue capabilities in Singapore's maritime and aeronautical Search and Rescue Regions (SRRs), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have jointly invested S$8.4 million in a Medium-altitude Earth Orbit (MEO) Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) ground system.

Scheduled to be fully operational next year, the system deploys Medium-altitude Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites that will receive distress signals, emitted from the emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships or persons in distress, and relay back to MEOSAR's ground segment.

The new ground system will leverage its access to more satellites and advanced technologies to detect and accurately locate distress parties more quickly than the current Low-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (LEOSAR) ground system, according to the two parties.

"The acquisition of the improved space-based system will enhance our search and rescue capabilities. It will complement our equipment and resources to provide faster, more accurate and reliable data to locate persons in distress," said Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS.

The adoption of the MEOSAR ground system is an initiative under the Cospas-Sarsat programme. This international satellite-based programme provides accurate, timely, and reliable distress alert and location data to help search and rescue authorities assist persons in distress. Singapore has been an active participant of the programme since 1991.


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