Orolia announced on 2 March that its McMurdo brand has been selected by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to provide nationwide enhancements to the agency’s existing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite technology.

Covering one year of installation and training followed by an additional three years of service and support, the contract will enable the MCA to operate with the new Medium-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) satellites now being deployed. The company will equip the agency with a new MEOSAR-capable McMurdo mission control centre to collect and route distress signals and to the appropriate rescue coordination centre. When fully operational, the upgraded MEOSAR system is expected to dramatically improve the speed and location accuracy for detecting emergency distress beacons.

The company will also install innovative Medium Earth Orbit Local User Terminals (MEOLUT) and upgrade LUTs, or ground stations, that operate on the GEOSAR and LEOSAR satellite constellations for comprehensive programme support. The combination will enable the MCA to find individuals by their activated distress beacons using the most reliable system on the market today.

"The Maritime and Coastguard Agency continually seek opportunities to further advance our search and rescue service delivery and reputation," said Richard Parkes, Director of Maritime Operations. "McMurdo's MEOSAR-enabled mission control centre and ground stations will provide the highest calibre technology and performance to support our SAR personnel, enabling us to provide mariners in distress with better response operations to save even more lives."

Medium-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) satellites provide increasing levels of capability for SAR operations across a broad spectrum of weather conditions. (Image: Orolia/McMurdo).

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