World Beacon Day – Galileo continues to help save lives

Radio beacon shown in a search and rescue operation
Launched on December 2016, Galileo SAR service contributes live-saving efforts by swiftly relaying radio beacon distress signals to the relevant SAR crews.

World Beacon Day or #406 day is a day to honour the search and rescue teams that are helping save thousands of lives every year. 406 Day marks the 6 April as a reference to the 406 MHz frequency of the beacons used by the SAR teams in their missions. These beacons are integrated into the COSPAS-SARSAT system and are helping to save 2,000 lives per year. 


Galileo SAR system is integrated into the COSPAS-SARSAT programme - a satellite-based SAR distress alert detection and information distribution system. The system finds distress signals from radio beacons that comply with COSPAS-SARSAT specifications and standards and provides the information to search and rescue teams.

How does Galileo play a role?

Galileo has proven a valuable resource when it comes to these rescue missions. 

Thanks to the SAR transponder which seamlessly integrates into the satellite constellation, Galileo has revolutionised the detection and location process of distress beacons, significantly reducing response times and enhancing survival probabilities. 

By locating the 406 MHz signals transmitted from the beacons, the System pinpoints the distress position and timely expedites the location data to relevant authorities significantly augmenting the likelihood of survival for those in perilous situations.

Central to Galileo’s innovation is the Return Link Service (RLS), a ground-breaking feature that provides 406 users with a vital confirmation and reassurance that its distress transmission has been received within a remarkable 10-to-20-minute timeframe.

Galileo’s SAR technology has not only revolutionized SAR operations but has also become a beacon of hope for individuals facing emergencies in remote or hazardous environments. With each successful mission, Galileo reaffirms its status as an indispensable asset, transcending boundaries and saving lives with unparalleled efficiency. 

Galileo SAR Fully Operational Capability (FOC)

Galileo's Search and Rescue Service is set for a remarkable leap forward with the imminent declaration of its Full Operational Capability (FOC). This milestone promises to elevate safety and support in SAR operations, reaffirming Galileo's dedication to worldwide SAR endeavours. 

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