SAT406M - Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) by Mobit
SAT406M is a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) in form of a wrist watch, in line with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) standards, for the use of individuals engaged in sailing.
When activated, SAT406M transmits two kinds of distress signals: in 406MHz, monitored by Cospas-Sarsat satellites; and AIS (Automatic Identification System) monitored by nearby ships.
Beyond the legacy Cospas-Sarsat LEOSAR and GEOSAR, SAT406M is served by the MEOSAR: GPS, Galileo and Glonass satellites, and especially enabling the Return Link Service – RLS, uniquely provided by the European Galileo satellites. The RLS is used to acknowledge the user that his/her distress call was detected and rescue is on its way.
SAT406M, in combination with MEOLUT NEXT (by TAS), enables communication of Extra Information Bits (EIB) without violating the standard, and enhanced localization performance, employing fewer satellites or fewer bursts, and improved localization accuracy. The EIBs may be used to communicate different data to the RCC, such as the PLB user physiological status.
MEOLUT NEXT - MEDIUM EARTH ORBIT LOCAL USER TERMINAL (MEOLUT) by Thales Alenia Space
Thales Alenia Space already contributes to the COSPAS/SARSAT system as exclusive supplier of digital signal processors (DSP) on LEOSAR satellites since the 1990s. Today, Thales Alenia Space is offering a brand-new solution concerning the Local User Terminals (LUT). These terminals are in charge of processing the signals received from the satellites and calculating the position of the beacon, then sending it to the Mission Control Center.
The principle of Thales Alenia Space's solution is to use two small active antennas, each comprising 64 patches. These antennas are fitted with a high-performance RF (radio frequency) unit, for upstream digitizing of the signal, followed by a highly innovative algorithmic processing method.
Conventional MEOLUT systems, each fitted with six large parabolic antennas in an area about the size of a football field (or pitch…), are capable of tracking signals from six satellites (1 per antenna). Thales Alenia Space's MEOLUT NEXT solution, with its two small antennas located in less than 10 square meters, tracks up to 30 satellites, thus significantly enhancing the distress beacon detection rate, while also expanding the coverage zone. Furthermore, since there are no mechanical components in these antennas, maintenance costs are the lowest on the market.
Initiated with support from French space agency CNES, this project was first validated from the technical standpoint, and now allows Thales Alenia Space to offer a production version. The MEOLUT NEXT solution from Thales Alenia Space boosts both precision and performance, and is easier to deploy and maintain, meaning that it will undoubtedly improve the COSPAS/SARSAT global system's performance.