Space: Galileo provides a new exclusive function – the Return Link Service

Today is the International Search and Rescue Beacon day or “406 Day”, a day intended to remind Search and Rescue 406MHz beacon owners to test their beacons, check the batteries and update their registration. On this day, the Commission together with its partners (the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), amongst others) is proud to celebrate the European contribution to this international effort by installing distress-alert receivers onboard the Galileo satellites. This allows delivering unprecedented speed of detection of distress signals and accuracy in locating the position of the person in distress. Commissioner Thierry Breton, in charge of the Internal Market, said: “Through its satellites for distress-alert detection and location, Galileo contributes to search and rescue operations around the globe. It is a great European achievement that shows that Europe is not only an important space power, but also an actor continuously working for people’s well-being.” Galileo is now providing a new Return Link Service function. This unique feature provides the user in distress with an acknowledgement indication on the beacon that the distress signal from the beacon was received and its position located. In just over a year since its first introduction, the Galileo Return Link feature has been endorsed by the Cospas-Sarsat Council in March 2021 as having achieved the transition to Full Operational Capacity, and is available worldwide. On this occasion, the Commission sent invitations to more than 250 operational Search And Rescue units to collect their views and their expectations, so that the Next Developments of Galileo/SAR will match their operational needs as closely as possible, to save even more lives in the future. For more information, please read this news item.