Satellite Rescue Network Inducted into Space Technology Hall of Fame

The international COSPAS-SARSAT rescue network has been instrumental in saving more than 37,000 people worldwide, including more than 7,300 in the United States thanks to NOAA satellite operations.

The international COSPAS-SARSAT rescue network, which has been instrumental in saving more than 37,000 people worldwide, including more than 7,300 in the United States thanks to NOAA satellite operations, was inducted into the Space Foundation's Space Technology Hall of Fame on May 22 in a ceremony held in Colorado Springs. The hall recognizes technologies originally developed for space applications that now improve life on Earth; the neuroArm, a neurosurgery robot, was the other inductee, with the University of Calgary and a neurosurgeon who is a professor there, Garnette Sutherland, inducted along with IMRIS, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., and the Canadian Space Agency.

The COSPAS-SARSAT system covers 43 countries and organizations; the United States, France, and Canada are the "SARSAT" (Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking) portion, while the Russian Federation leads the COSPAS portion. NOAA satellites have been part of the system since its creation in 1982.

The satellites are used to detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons aboard aircraft and boats and from handheld personal locator beacons called PLBs. "The technology on NOAA satellites is not just for gathering environmental intelligence and weather forecasting. It also saves lives thanks to our role with COSPAS-SARSAT," said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.

"It is an honor for COSPAS-SARSAT to receive this prestigious distinction. It is high praise not only for the creators of the technology and the team of scientists and technicians behind the scenes, but the brave first responders, who make the rescues," said Chris O'Connors, program manager for NOAA SARSAT.

Owners of emergency beacons are required to register them with NOAA at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov. At the start of May 2014, NOAA's database contained more than 411,000 registrations.

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