Isro’s search and rescue service saved 2,300 lives in 164 incidents; Pawan Hans chopper drawn in 6 minutes | India News

BENGALURU: Alarms at isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command (Istrac) Network Mission Control Center for SAR (search and rescue) in Bengaluru started at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday. The distress signal came from a beacon of the Pawan Hans helicopter, forced to make an emergency landing at sea more than 100 km off Bombay.
In six minutes – exactly at 12:26 p.m. – an Indian satellite located the helicopter and sent information back with specific details of its location to control, which was then passed on to rescue teams, who acted quickly to rescue the nine passengers. . But four of them died later.
The six-minute operation by Isro on Tuesday is not a misplaced incident. Satellite search and rescue services provided by the space agency have helped save more than 2,350 lives involved in 164 incidents since 1991, while 231 lives have been lost despite efforts.
These include incidents involving seven neighboring countries – Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Seychelles and Tanzania – which Isro is helping.
India is a member of the international Cospas-Sarsat program (a global satellite-assisted search and rescue initiative) to provide distress alerting and position locating services through search and rescue satellite systems in low Earth orbit (LEOSAR) and in geostationary orbit (GEOSAR).
“Isro joined Cospas-Sarsat in the 1990s and began providing services to maritime and air users and to people in distress. Access is provided to all states on a non-discriminatory basis and is free to end users. Since its inception, India’s Isro Mission Control Center (INMCC) helped save more than 2,300 lives in the Indian Mission Control service area,” BN Ramakrishna, director of Istrac, told TOI.
A source said Indian Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel – whose teams ultimately carry out the rescue operations – receive periodic orientation and training at Istrac in Bengaluru, which helps them perform the SAR.
How it works
The INMCC consists of a Mission Control Center (MCC), Local User Terminals (LUTs), and a Beacon Registration Database Service.
All Indian beacon users are required to register their beacons, along with personal information – to be used by Rescue Coordination Centers for rescue operations – on the INMCC website hosted by Istrac. To date, 1,048 Indian users have registered 18,501 tags.
According to Istrac, signals are picked up by INMCC from these distress beacons classified into three categories: Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) for aviation use; emergency position-indicating radiobeacon (EPIRB) for marine use and personal locator beacon (PLB) for personal use.
The beacons operate at a frequency of 406 MHz and the SAR payloads of the satellites in Low Altitude Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Medium Altitude Orbit detect the signals they transmit.
Ground receiving stations – local user terminals – distributed around the world receive and process downlink signals from satellites to generate distress alerts. A network of MCCs established around the world is then used to broadcast distress alerts and location information to SAR authorities.
Ramakrishna added that INMCC has a major role in providing distress alert information to SAR points of contact (SPOCs) in the seven neighboring countries. “INMCC receives distress alert data regarding these countries through LUTs and other MCCs. These alerts are broadcast to their respective Rescue Coordination Centers.”


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Brandon D. James