Techno-Sciences, Inc. (TSi), acquired by McMurdo in May, was chosen by the Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).
The deal includes a MEOSAR satellite ground station system in each country, as well as a common Mission Control Centre (MCC) in Canberra and associated support and maintenance. Installation is scheduled to start this September and expected to take 15 months.
Currently, search and rescue relies on Low-altitude Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and geostationary satellites, but SAR receivers are now being placed on MEO satellites – in the Galileo (EU), GPS (US) and GLONASS (Russia) constellations – with the aim of providing quicker and more accurate alerts by the time MEOSAR comes online in 2018.
“Australia and New Zealand have two of the largest SAR regions in the world, and we are pleased to help them create a more responsive system for those needing assistance in an emergency," said Jean-Yves Courtois, CEO of McMurdo Group.
The MEOSAR space segment consisting of GPS, Galileo and GLONASS satellites is scheduled to be ready in 2015, with sufficient ground segment infrastructure becoming available only later. Initial operational capability is expected in 2016 and full operational capability in 2018.