Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Contract to provide major boost to NZ search and rescue

Trans-Tasman contract to provide major boost to NZ search and rescue capability

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) have signed a contract that will provide a major boost to search and rescue (SAR) in the region.

The contract with McMurdo Group’s Techno-Sciences Inc. will improve the way emergency distress beacon signals are picked up and passed on to rescue authorities.

Two new satellite receiving stations will be built, one near Taupo and the other in Western Australia, along with a new mission control centre in Canberra, to pick up signals from medium-Earth orbit search and rescue (MEOSAR) satellites.

MEOSAR satellites (orbiting at around 20,000km above the Earth) are replacing the current low-Earth orbit (LEOSAR) satellites (orbiting between 800-1000km), which are being phased out over the next four years.

Existing beacons, of which there are 46,000 registered in New Zealand, will not be affected by the change.

Six satellite dishes will be built at New Zealand site, located mid-way between Taupo and Rotorua, with construction scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015. The receiving station is expected to be commissioned towards the end of 2016 and operational by 2017.

The New Zealand contract is made up of $7.2m for construction of the receiving station and $5.5m in operating costs over the next 11 years.

There are currently 16 MEOSAR satellites orbiting Earth, compared to five LEOSAR satellites, meaning beacon signals will be received more quickly and beacon locations identified with greater accuracy. This will further improve over the next five years as the number of MEOSAR satellites is expected to increase to more than 50, ensuring several satellites will be in view at all times from anywhere on Earth.

As with the LEOSAR system, beacon signals will pass through the MEOSAR satellites to the two ground stations, be processed through the Canberra mission control centre, and relayed to the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), thus triggering SAR operations.

The RCCNZ, part of MNZ, responds to around 550 beacon alerts each year.

“The joint investment by New Zealand and Australia in the MEOSAR project is another example of the close cooperation between our two countries in what is a vital area of operations,” MNZ Director Keith Manch said.

“The change is necessary because without a medium earth orbiting receiving station New Zealand would effectively lose its ability to respond to distress beacons once the LEOSAR satellites are phased out. But the change brings with it significant improvements to search and rescue capability.”

AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said Australia and New Zealand’s ground stations would work cooperatively to achieve overlapping coverage of the two countries’ search and rescue regions.

“This offers a high degree of resilience in the event of a system outage that would be expensive for either country to achieve alone,” Mr Kinley said. “AMSA is pleased to continue this collaborative regional approach with New Zealand.”

New Zealand’s search and rescue region extends from just below the Equator to the South Pole, half way across the Tasman, and east to half way to South America.

Background
The global search and rescue satellite system is managed by the International Cospas-Sarsat organisation.

A consortium of Russia, the United States, Canada and France formed the organisation in 1982. Since then 41 participants – including New Zealand – have joined to provide satellite tracking equipment.

Cospas-Sarsat sets standards for beacons, satellite equipment, and ground stations enabling a truly global approach to search and rescue.

The current global search and rescue satellite system makes use of two types of satellite - LEOSAR satellites and geostationary, or GEO, satellites, that are stationary above the equator. Because of New Zealand’s distance from the equator, the GEO satellites are low on the horizon, which can limit their line-of-sight visibility, particularly in mountainous terrain. That makes LEO satellites important, but these are limited in number and not always over New Zealand, so there can be delays between a beacon activation and its detection by a LEO satellite.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Strike: Lyttelton Port Workers Vote To Escalate Dispute

Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) at Lyttelton Port today voted to escalate their industrial action. Around 200 RMTU members have been operating an overtime ban since 17 December and today they endorsed a series of full withdrawals of labour at the port. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Falls To 3-Year Low As Investors Favour Greenback

The New Zealand dollar fell to its lowest in more than three years as investors sold euro and bought US dollars, weakening other currencies against the greenback. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

NASA, NOAA: Find 2014 Warmest Year In Modern Record

Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: New Zealand’s Reserve Bank Named Central Bank Of The Year

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s efforts to stifle house price inflation by using new policy tools has seen the institution named Central Bank of the year by Central Banking Publications, a publisher specialising in global central banking practice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news