Honeywell Technology Enables Next Generation Search and Rescue Operations for European Space Agency

ESA_SvalbardWith drastically reduced emergency response times, Honeywell technology has passed the final acceptance test for use on the Galileo search and rescue program, a pan-European geo-positioning satellite system operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) and funded by the European Union. Honeywell Global Tracking, part of Honeywell’s Scanning and Mobility, is working in partnership with the Aerospace & Defense division of Capgemini, the prime contractor for the Galileo search and rescue program, to deliver a high-precision positioning system that is fully compatible with the international standard, known as the Cospas-Sarsat standard.

The international Cospas-Sarsat program is a satellite-based search and rescue distress alert detection and information distribution system, best known for detecting and locating emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and remotely located people in distress. Tests using the Honeywell system have proven that the time from beacon transmission to detection and processing has been reduced from several hours to a few minutes – often the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. Honeywell’s industry-leading satellite tracking technology, which detects faint alerts sent by emergency beacons around the world using a combination of Doppler curves, noise reduction, and advanced signal processing, quickly calculates the exact location of the beacon and sends the results to the relevant Mission Control Center(s) in the region. 

“Our Medium Earth Orbit-based search and rescue solution will lead to faster recovery missions and improved international search and rescue operations, and we’re pleased to partner with the European Space Agency to help execute on this important, life-saving system,” said David Sharratt, General Manager, Honeywell Global Tracking. “With decades of experience developing this technology, Honeywell Global Tracking is the global leader of search and rescue solutions.” 

“Up until now, Cospas–Sarsat has relied on satellites in low and high orbits, but medium orbits with satellites such as Galileo are better: they combine a wide field of view with strong Doppler shift, making it more likely a distress signal is pinpointed promptly and accurately,” says Fermin Alvarez, Ground Station and Fielding Engineer with ESA. “Together with Honeywell, we are encouraged to see Galileo performing so strongly, thereby solidifying our ability to support precise and speedy search and rescue efforts.”

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