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SARSAT (search and rescue satellite-aided tracking)

SARSAT (search and rescue satellite-aided tracking)click for a larger image
A system of satellites operated by Canada, France, and the United States for search and rescue purposes. The system, along with the equivalent system COSPAS of the former Soviet Union, monitors distress signals from ships and aircraft. The ship or aircraft in distress must transmit the distress signal on one of the two fixed frequencies. The system uses NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellites in low-earth and geostationary orbits to detect and locate aviators, mariners, and land-based users in distress. The satellites relay distress signals from emergency beacons to ground stations and ultimately to the U.S. mission control center in Southland, Maryland. The USMCC (United States Mission Control Center) processes the data and alerts the appropriate search and rescue (S and R) authorities. SARSAT is a part of COSPAS-SARSAT.
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These polar-orbiters (NOAA operates five), part of the SARSAT system, fly around the earth (540 miles above) every 102 minutes and carry instruments capable of detecting the location of distress signals from 406 beacons.
MCC: NOAA'S Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland, where the SARSAT Mission Control Center is housed.
Your tax dollars are paying for the COSPAS SARSAT system and if s extraordinarily effective at saving lives, so you might as well take advantage of it," says John Caballero of McMurdo Ltd, a maker of a full line of 406 beacons, electronics the GlobalStar satellite system, McMurdo Smartfind Plus/G5 406 GPS MHz EPIRB (Auto Float Free Housing)$699
Check the following sites for more information on the SARSAT program:
The beacon is picked up by the satellites equipped with the SARSAT hardware.
Initially, SARSAT hardware was installed only on low earth orbit polar-orbiting satellites, like the Advanced TIROS-N series.
Beginning in 1998, SARSAT hardware was also installed on geostationary satellites that reside 22,300 miles in altitude above the equator, orbiting the Earth at the same rate at which it turns beneath them.
The six operational geostationary satellites hosting SARSAT payloads are NOAA's GOES East (GOES-13) and GOES West (GOES-15) with two satellites in stand by (GOES-12, GOES-14), India's INSAT-A satellite, the European Meteosat Second Generation satellites MSG-2 and MSG-3, and Russia's Electro-L No.
Since SARSAT was established in 1982, more than 24,500 lives have been saved.
Complying with rigorous federal and international standards, FAST FIND operates on the global COSPAS SARSAT 406MHz search and rescue satellite communication system, which is supported by international government search and rescue authorities around the world.