last July, two Hikers backpacking in the Shasta Trinity National Forest in California. Just northeast of Granite Lake — a small body of water surrounded by stagnant water and rocky hillsides — one of them fell and was too badly injured to continue.
They took a personal locator beacon from their supplies. They extended the device’s antenna and pressed the button below. Immediately, radio signals began to shoot out at a frequency of 406 megahertz, eventually hitting a probe on the orbiting satellite. The instruments, which are part of NOAA’s Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (Sarsat) program, pick up the signal and immediately ping Earth.
Someone got into trouble near Covington Mill, CA The alerts told the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, along with details about who had the equipment and how to get in touch with them. Soon, a helicopter was on its way to the latitude and longitude of the victims. After lifting the two hikers, the plane took them to hospital.
Not just a happy ending, but a lighthearted one as far as the Wilderness SOS goes. (This event, along with thousands of others, exists in Sarsat’s planned accident history database.) Locating hikers does not require cleaning the trailhead sign-in sheet or deciphering the notes affixed to the car at the starting point. It’s by design: Sarsat’s tagline is “Remove Search from Search and Rescue. “Sarsat is a little-known American program to rescue lost or injured hikers and climbers, ATV and snowmobile drivers in overturned cars, sailors on sunken ships, and passengers on crashed planes. Part of an international collaboration between Cospas-Sarsat, involving 45 countries and two independent organisations, the system relies on simple devices that do one job – sending a distress signal showing location in any weather, anywhere – and listening for those calls Jesse Reich, Sarsat Ground Systems Engineer, said: “If you really need to save lives, then in my opinion this is the way to go. “
As of 2022, NOAA’s database has more than 723,000 registered rescue devices, most of which are owned by those who wish to never have to use them. Still, more than 50,000 people around the world were rescued as they activated 406 beacons that sent a distress signal into space.
SARSAT started at An event that could benefit from its technology: In 1972, two congressmen, Hale Boggs and Nick Begich, flew over Alaska in a twin-engine Cessna 310. Their planes disappeared into remote areas in bad weather. The 325,000-square-mile search took 39 days and 90 aircraft turned up nothing. The search was called off, and the whereabouts of the politicians and their planes are still unknown.
Later, Congress declared that planes must carry emergency beacons to automatically broadcast in the event of a crash. But the program has a technical limitation: other The plane must be flying nearby to receive the call. Unsurprisingly, NASA realized that the satellite would have a wider field of view and could also survey vast areas of Earth that are actually oceans. A group of space agency scientists worked out what was possible, and by 1979 the United States, Canada, France and the former Soviet Union had signed documents in Leningrad.International cooperation, which later became more formal Cospas-Sarsatlaunched its first satellite in June 1982.