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cospas sarsat system over
The COSPAS-SARSAT Search & Rescue System


Distress signal from activated 406 MHz beacon (EPIRB or PLB).


406 MHz EPIRB or PLB sends uniquely coded distress signal to the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system.  GPS coordinates, if available (GPS enabled EPIRB or PLB), are transmitted to GEOSAR and immediately forwarded to Mission Control Center (MCC).  GPS information allows the rescue to skip to Step 5 and the search area is reduced to .05 nautical miles (100 yards).


Through Doppler shift, the satellite determines the EPIRB or PLB location to within 2.3 miles (3.7 km).  This location information is re-transmitted to the ground station or Local User Terminal (LUT) along with the unique identifier number (UIN).


The MCC receives the location information from the LUT.  The MCC combines this information with other satellite receptions and transmits this to the appropriate Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) based on the beacon's geographic location.


The RCC uses the UIN to identify the registered beacon and calls the emergency contacts listed to verify the emergency.  The RCC simultaneously notifies local Search and Rescue (SAR).  Local SAR forces are deployed and use the beacon's 121.5 MHz homing signal for pinpoint precision.