Technology Overview

Understanding Galileo

Galileo is the European Union’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellation, which reached its operational phase in 2017, allowing technology with a Galileo-enabled receiver to use signals provided by Galileo’s global satellite constellation for positioning, navigation and timing.

Galileo’s development is part of the EU’s preparations for upgrading the international distress beacon locating organisation COSPAS SARSAT’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Ecosystem under the MEOSAR program, which requires new earth based antenna and a network of 72 SAR satellites, made up of the US GPS, EU Galileo and Russian Glonass constellations.

Cospas Sarsat Ecosystem

What Impact will the introduction of Galileo have on search and rescue ecosystem?

Galileo’s immediate impact on Search and rescue (SAR) has been the addition of 26 new satellites, allowing greater global coverage, with faster detection of the 406MHz distress frequency. Coupled with Galileo’s precision GNSS capabilities, SAR beacons with Galileo receiver’s location detection is greatly accelerated. Interaction with the GPS network has also created a Canyon Effect capability that allows signal detection in areas with previously limited coverage.

The Second major impact will be the Return Link Service (RLS), a re-assurance signal back to a new generation of SAR beacons to inform the user that their distress signal and location have been detected. This new capability is unique to the Galileo satellites which became globally operational in March 2021.

Cospas Sarsat Ecosystem with Return Link Service (RLS)

All Seas of Solutions Cospas Sarsat emergency EPIRBs and PLBs include both Galileo and GPS GNSS receivers to maximise the speed and accuracy of their location detection.

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