The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) spent $8.4 million in a new satellite technology to improve search and rescue operations in the city-state.
The MEOSAR system or Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue technology consists of ground and space equipment. It will use MEO satellites as transceivers of distress signals sent by aircraft, ships and people.
The new system will provide better capabilities when it becomes fully operational in 2018. Whilst the low-altitude earth orbit search and rescue system has performed well, the MEOSAR technology offers better accuracy in finding and locating persons or objects, according to CAAS Director-General Kevin Shum.
MPA CEO Andrew Tan agreed and said that time remains crucial in all search and rescue efforts. By investing in new technology, retrieval operations will become quicker and more efficient due to accelerated deployment of resources.
Even Singtel Satellite agrees that in Asia, satellite capacity applies to search and rescue efforts, as well as to telecommunications. As more businesses and consumers rely on digital technology, satellite service providers have been their go-to option.
CAAS and MPA invested in the MEOSAR ground system as part of the Cospas-Sarsat programme, which is an international humanitarian initiative. It relies on satellite equipment for search and rescue missions for air, land and sea.
The new system will further strengthen Singapore’s participation in the programme after it joined in 1991. Since then, the country has been active in relaying distress messages to necessary contacts in Brunei, Malaysia and Myanmar for search and rescue efforts.
Satellite technology has made our lives easier. Businesses that rely on satellite services will likewise benefit from CAAS and MPA’s investment in new equipment and technology.