Multimedia Resources

Media Teleconference: Learn How New Technology Is Taking the 'Search' out of 'Search and Rescue'
Journalists are invited to participate in a teleconference to learn how NASA, NOAA, the Coast Guard, Air Force and other international partners are working together to develop a new system that reduces search-and-rescue times from hours to seconds. Reporters will learn how the public can take important life-saving steps that may help the Air Force and Coast Guard execute efficient and safe rescues.

NASA has developed new technology that will more quickly identify the locations of people in distress and reduce the risk to rescuers. Goddard engineers pioneered the technology used for the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System, or COSPAS-SARSAT. The system, with the aid of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites, is credited with saving 27,000 lives worldwide, including more than 6,330 in the U.S. and its surrounding waters since its inception nearly three decades ago.

› Related feature story: "Sailor Reflects on NASA Technology That Saved His Life"
› Related press release

Briefing Participants

Briefing Materials

Visual 1: Interview with Dennis Clements, rescued at sea thanks to the Search and Rescue system. Clements was rescued from the waters off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., on Jan. 2, 2010, after his sailboat was damaged in a storm. The severe weather automatically set off the ship’s emergency beacon, an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). The resulting distress signal was received by the SARSAT (Search and Rescue Satellite) System, initiating a rescue effort by United States Coast Guard and Navy. Video credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

illustration of rescue beacon satellite Visual 2: This animation depicts how the current Search and Rescue system works. When an emergency beacon is activated, it transmits a distress signal that is received by NOAA weather satellites equipped with Search and Rescue repeaters. That signal is then relayed to Search and Rescue authorities. This technology was originally developed by NASA in the 1970s.
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illustration of rescue beacon satellites Visual 3: This animation depicts the next-generation search and rescue system, the DASS. Under this system, the instruments used to relay the emergency beacon signals will be installed on the U.S. military’s Global Position System (GPS), a constellation of 24 spacecraft operating in mid-Earth orbits. When one emergency signal goes off at least four satellites will be in view and Search and Rescue authorities can begin processing the signal to determine its precise location almost instantly.
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screen shot of 3D terrain video Visual 4: This video demonstrates the ability of NASA’s Search and Rescue Mission Office to view and map rugged terrain in 3-D, which aids rescue efforts in mountainous regions.
Credit: NASA
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variety of emergency beacons Visual 5: A variety of emergency beacons used to transmit distress signals. All 406 MHz beacons can and should be registered, and Search and Rescue authorities encourage owners of these beacons to do so as registration will help rescue forces find persons in distress faster in an emergency.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth
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Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) Visual 6: An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), the same type of beacon used by Dennis Clements, which alerted Search and Rescue authorities to his location and led to his rescue.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth
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Coast Guard vessel, helicopter and rescue diver Visual 7: A Coast Guard rescue swimmer from Air Station Atlantic City prepares to enter the water off of Atlantic City, N.J., during a water rescue training exercise Sept. 28, 2006.
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo by PAC Tom Sperduto
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Additional Materials

Related Visual 1: A storm capsized Dennis Clements's boat off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., in January. Clements owes his rescue to the crew of the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as to NASA satellites and a 406 MHz beacon. Video credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
› Related feature story
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Search and Rescue Mission Office Related Visual 2: Inside the Search and Rescue Mission Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Debbie McCallum
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diagram showing the rescue beacon process Related Visual 3: The SARSAT system uses NOAA satellites in low-earth and geostationary orbits to detect and locate aviators, mariners, and land-based users in distress. The satellites relay distress signals from emergency beacons to a network of ground stations and ultimately to the U.S. Mission Control Center (USMCC) in Suitland, Maryland. The USMCC processes the distress signal and alerts the appropriate search and rescue authorities to who is in distress and, more importantly, where they are located.
Credit: NOAA
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