SAR/Galileo Return Link Entry into Service

Chiara Scaleggi, Sylvain Delattre, Igor Stojkovic, Antonio Rolla, Javier Perez-Bartolome, Jeremie Benoist, Pol Novell

Abstract: The International Cospas-Sarsat Programme is a satellite based Search and Rescue (SAR) distress alert detection and information distribution system. Conceived as an international, humanitarian SAR system, it was constituted as an intergovernmental organization in 1988 by Canada, France, the USA and the former USSR (replaced by The Russian Federation in 1992). As of 2015, 42 countries participate in the operation and management of the System. The System is available to maritime and aviation users and to persons such as backcountry hikers in distress situations of all states on a non-discriminatory basis, and is free of charge for the end-user in distress. On average, about 5 persons are rescued every day with the assistance of the system. Galileo support to Search and Rescue service, herein SAR/Galileo, represents Europe’s contribution to the Cospas-Sarsat system, playing a key role of the Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue System, MEOSAR. The SAR/Galileo Service, with its Forward Link Alert Service is an integral part of the future MEOSAR system and ensures the detection and localization of the beacon distress signals through the relay of these signals by the Search and Rescue repeaters on board the Galileo satellites, their reception by the ground stations called MEOLUTs and alerts transmission to the Mission Control Centers. In addition, the SAR/Galileo Service will also introduce a new Search and Rescue function, called the Return Link Service (RLS), which provides acknowledgment messages to distress beacons equipped with a Galileo receiver, through the Galileo L1 signal. Galileo is currently the only GNSS system planning to provide this service worldwide. Within the Galileo system, the Return Link Service Provider, RLSP, is the facility in charge of the formation of the Return Link Messages and their coordination with the Galileo system, interfacing on one side with the Cospas-Sarsat network and on the other side with the Galileo Ground Mission Segment (GMS) for the transmission of RLMs to the distress beacons through the Galileo L1 signal. The RLSP facility is installed in the SAR/Galileo Service Centre in CNES, Toulouse where the Cospas-Sarsat French Mission Control Centre (FMCC) is also operated. CNES is responsible for the operation of the RLSP along with the coordination of the overall SAR/Galileo Ground Segment operations. The activities for the development of the RLSP V1 were officially launched on September 15th, 2016 and lasted until beginning of 2019. A great attention was paid on design drivers, interfaces, security, expandability to cover additional services, availability and long term maintainability requirements. The operational qualification campaign was carried out beginning of 2019 in order to validate the operational concepts, scenarios and interfaces. Once the connection to the Galileo Mission Segment established, several test campaigns will be conducted in order to assess the performances of the Return Link Service. In this paper, the authors present the validation activities that will be conducted before declaring the Return Link Service. Besides the functional and interfaces tests, the following Key Performance Indicators will be assessed: Return Link Service Availability, Probability of reception of a Return Link Message and associated Latency. Return Link enabled test beacons will also be used in order to test real conditions. In addition, a continuous monitoring of the Return Link Service will be ensured through the regular collection of the KPIs. For this aim a specific KPI collection platform, based on reference beacons located within the European Coverage Area has been developed and qualified.
Published in: Proceedings of the 32nd International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2019)
September 16 - 20, 2019
Hyatt Regency Miami
Miami, Florida
Pages: 1583 - 1597
Cite this article: Scaleggi, Chiara, Delattre, Sylvain, Stojkovic, Igor, Rolla, Antonio, Perez-Bartolome, Javier, Benoist, Jeremie, Novell, Pol, "SAR/Galileo Return Link Entry into Service," Proceedings of the 32nd International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2019), Miami, Florida, September 2019, pp. 1583-1597.
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