SARSAT - A Lifeline to Survival!
permission from FAA Aviation News
Around the world'around the clock'the U.S.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
proudly stands watch. As an integral part of worldwide
search and rescue efforts, NOAA operates the U.S. Search and
Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System to detect
and locate mariners, aviators, and recreational enthusiasts
in distress almost anywhere in the world at anytime and in
almost any condition.
The SARSAT system uses NOAA satellites in
low-earth and geostationary orbits to detect and locate
those in distress. The satellites relay distress signals
from emergency beacons to a network of ground stations and
ultimately to the U.S. Mission Control Center (USMCC) in
Suitland, Maryland. The USMCC processes the distress signal
and alerts the appropriate search and rescue authorities of
those who are in distress and, more importantly,
approximately where they are located. With the newer GPS
encoded 406 MHz distress beacons, a victim's location can be
located to within a few square meters.
Aviators should be aware that on February 1,
2009, SARSAT's satellites will no longer monitor for the
analog 121.5 MHz frequencies given off by older Emergency
Locator Transmitters (ELT's). Pilots and aircraft owners are
advised that they should consider changing out their 121.5
MHz ELT for a digital 406 MHz frequency, which will continue
to be monitored by the satellites.
NOAA-SARSAT is a part of the international
Cospas-Sarsat Program to which 38 nations and two
independent SAR organizations belong. For more information
about SARSAT and the transition to 406 MHz ELTs, readers can
log onto the following
Internet Web site athttp://www.sarsat.noaa.gov.