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Capgemini to build ESA's new Search and Rescue system

European Space Agency

Paris: The European Space Agency (ESA), has appointed Capgemini's Aerospace & Defence division to implement the ground segment of the Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR) system, funded by the European Commission. Capgemini, as project manager of an international consortium, will be carrying out this program from its Toulouse site.

Galileo is Europe's satellite navigation system, the equivalent of the US GPS, whose first operating services are expected to be delivered in 2014. Galileo will be equipped with find-and-rescue services integrated as part of the international MEOSAR system, developed by several countries around the world and coordinated by the Cospas-Sarsat system.

Its satellites will be able to pick up signals from distress beacons, emitted by ships, aircraft or isolated individuals. Data transmitted to the ground by the satellites will then be dealt with by the ground segment of the Search and Rescue system developed by Capgemini, which aims to route them to the national emergency centers. The new system will locate these people in around ten minutes under operating conditions of more than 99.8%, compared with several hours under the previous arrangements.

As well as improved performance tracking, the system will authorize the sending of a response message to the beacon sending the distress signal, indicating to the person in distress that the signal has been received, which has not been the case up to now.

Capgemini, the program project manager, will work with three companies to provide the ESA with a comprehensive, pan-European, supervision and control network of communications between ground stations and the control center:

  • Honeywell Global Tracking (Canada) for the supply of three satellite ground stations on sites in Maspalomas (Canary Islands), Spitzbergen (Norway) et Larnaca (Cyprus),
  • ELTA (a Toulouse company company) for the supply of new-generation distress beacons,
  • GÉANT (a UK-based organization) for the network infrastructure.

The program is expected to be completed by spring 2014.

Pierre-Jean Mercé, Capgemini's program manager commented, "The implementation of the ground segment of the Galileo SAR GS allows Capgemini's Space teams to use their experience gained over 20 years in Search and Rescue systems, as well as integration programs in critical systems. We are proud and happy to contribute to the development of a project with such technological performance and, most importantly, will save more people in distress."

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