Com Dev International has successfully completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of the medium earth orbit search-and-rescue (MEOSAR) project.

The PDR demonstrated that the repeater design is making significant progress toward compliance with the requirements of the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) and other members of the international MEOSAR stakeholder community.

Com Dev received a $4.7m contract from the DND in March 2013, to design and develop a MEOSAR repeater, which is expected to be supplied to the US for integration as hosted payloads on its next generation of the global positioning satellite (GPS) constellation.

The contract includes an option to extend the development work to produce a fully-integrated prototype MEOSAR repeater for test and qualification.

COM DEV International CEO Michael Pley said, "On May 2nd 2013 the Minister of National Defence identified the MEOSAR project as an important initiative to provide a more capable search-and-rescue system for Canada and Cospas-Sarsat."

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A total of 24 MEOSAR repeaters are expected to be hosted on the satellites of the GPS III constellation, which orbit at an altitude of approximately 20,200km.

"The contract includes an option to extend the development work to produce a fully-integrated prototype MEOSAR repeater."

Built at the company’s facilities in Cambridge and Ottawa, Canada, the repeaters will significantly reduce time taken by the GPS III satellites for location of a distress signal in the orbit.

Once installed, the repeaters will detect and retransmit signals from emergency beacons to ground-based local user terminals (LUTs),eventually accelerating transmission of crisis messages to appropriate authorities for quick search-and-rescue of isolated individuals.

MEOSAR is claimed to be the next evolution of the Cospas-Sarsat system, which was established by Canada, France, Russia and the US in the mid-1970s to provide a truly global search-and-rescue system.

The MEOSAR payload technology development project was initiated by Com Dev under a cost-shared research and development (R&D) project with the Canadian Space Agency in 2008.

Defence Technology