McMurdo Introduces Next-Gen Software for Satellite-Aided Search and Rescue

September 4, 2015  - By
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In a typical Cospas-Sarsat search and rescue process, a Distress Beacon signal is sent via Satellite to a Local User Terminal. A Mission Control Center validates the emergency and sends critical information to Rescue Coordination Centers. MEOSAR, the next-generation version of Cospas-Sarsat, will provide several unique features including a Return Link Service function to acknowledge receipt of the distress signal.

In a typical Cospas-Sarsat search and rescue process, a distress beacon signal is sent via satellite to a local user terminal. A mission control center validates the emergency and sends critical information to rescue coordination centers. MEOSAR, the next-generation version of Cospas-Sarsat, will provide several unique features including a return link service function to acknowledge receipt of the distress signal.

McMurdo has introduced PRISMA MCCNet, a new software solution with several new features to improve the Cospas-Sarsat satellite-aided search and rescue process, and for use in the future MEOSAR system. The software, which is part of McMurdo’s suite of PRISMA (Preparation, Response, Identification, Surveillance, Management, Acceleration) software solutions, provides mission control center (MCC) operators with critical tools to better identify, locate and manage distress situations.

In a typical Cospas-Sarsat search and rescue scenario, a distress signal from an emergency beacon is sent via satellite to a fixed ground receiving station or local user terminal. The nearby MCC confirms the emergency, analyzes location data and provides this information to the various rescue coordination centers for the actual rescue operation. PRISMA MCC’s improved functionality includes built-in system redundancy, unified communications and automated reporting to improve the MCC operation and streamline the search and rescue process.

The international Cospas-Sarsat satellite system is best known for detecting and locating emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and backcountry hikers in distress and has been credited with saving 37,000 lives since 1982. The system includes satellites in low-altitude Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary Earth orbit (GEO). The future Cospas-Sarsat system will include medium-altitude Earth orbit (MEO), which will form the MEOSAR system. Satellites in the MEOSAR system include GPS, Galileo and GLONASS satellites, which are incorporating search and rescue payloads.

“PRISMA MCCNet provides Mission Control Center operators with a powerful, comprehensive and reliable software tool that provides the most accurate data and most up-to-date information to expedite the search and rescue process,” said Jacob Blankenship, search and rescue business manager for McMurdo. “With several advanced features and innovative functions based on our years of experience working with the leading search and rescue authorities around the world, the end result will be faster decision making and, ultimately, more lives saved.”

McMurdo’s PRISMA MCCNet software will help improve a Cospas-Sarsat satellite-aided search and rescue system that has helped to save 37,000 lives since 1982.

McMurdo’s PRISMA MCCNet software will help improve a Cospas-Sarsat satellite-aided search and rescue system that has helped to save 37,000 lives since 1982.

PRISMA MCCNet provides significant improvements in several key areas to enhance mission control center operations including:

  • High Availability with Support for Automatic Failover — PRISMA MCCNet includes new automatic failover and built-in redundancy features to maximize availability and uptime of the search and rescue system.
  • Unified Inbox and Communications — Easy to use and organize, PRISMA MCCNet’s Unified Inbox displays all actionable events that require operator interactions including beacon alerts, narrative messages, or system level alarms on a single screen. This information, which traditionally required the use of multiple screens, can be sent easily and reliably to rescue authorities via multiple communications protocols and redundant link transmission.
  • Advanced Monitoring and Reporting — PRISMA MCCNet’s built-in automatic diagnostic and analytical tools continuously detect, trace, and report malfunctioning components and processes. Quality Management System (QMS) analysis tools provide real-time tracking of system performance.
  • Client-Server Architecture — Unlike traditional MCC systems, PRISMA MCCNet is based on a secure and scalable client-server architecture allowing multiple MCC workstations to access consistent data and information from a centralized or distributed server configuration.
  • Commissionable LEOSAR/GEOSAR/MEOSAR MCC — PRISMA MCCNet was developed in close association with Cospas-Sarsat, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA and other search and rescue authorities. This ensures a seamless commission/certification process for LEOSAR/GEOSAR/MEOSAR MCCs.
McMurdo’s PRISMA MCCNet software streamlines Mission Control Center operations with industry-first features including built-in system redundancy, a Unified Inbox and advanced monitoring tools.

McMurdo’s PRISMA MCCNet software streamlines mission control center operations with features including built-in system redundancy, a unified inbox and advanced monitoring tools.

“The launch of PRISMA MCCNet is yet another milestone in McMurdo’s journey to become the global leader in emergency readiness and response,” said Jean-Yves Courtois, McMurdo CEO. “It provides a solid foundation upon which we can build a world-class, integrated ecosystem of products, technologies and services for preventing emergencies, protecting assets and saving lives.”

McMurdo provides the world’s only complete, end-to-end emergency readiness and response solution including distress beacons, search and rescue satellite infrastructure, mission control and rescue coordination centers and maritime domain awareness solutions including coastal surveillance and vessel monitoring systems. The world’s leading search and rescue authorities in the U.S. (NOAA and NASA), Australia (Australia Maritime Safety Authority), New Zealand (Maritime New Zealand), Cyprus, South Africa, Argentina and other countries use McMurdo search and rescue systems.

Images: McMurdo

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