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Proceedings Paper

Beaconless search and rescue overview: history, development, and achievements
Author(s): Ronald G. Wallace; David W. Affens; Houra Rais
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Paper Abstract

The NASA Search and Rescue Mission at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is carrying out a technology development project intended to complement the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite-based distress alerting and locating system. This system is based on emergency radio beacons and cannot function when beacons fail to operate. The beaconless search and rescue concept utilizes an airborne or spaceborne remote sensing instrument, such as a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), to aid in searching for downed aircraft in remote regions when no beacon is present. Compared with conventional visual search, a radar-based system would be capable of dramatically improving crash site detection due to its wide area coverage and foliage penetration. Moreover, the performance of this system is unaffected by weather conditions and ambient light level and hence it offers quick response time which is vital to the survival of crash victims. The Search and Rescue Mission has conducted a series of field experiments using the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's airborne SAR system (AIRSAR) which has demonstrated the technical feasibility of using SAR. The SAR data processing software (SARDPS) developed at GSFC is used to produce high-quality SAR images for post-processing and analysis. Currently various elements of an operational system are being investigated, including a SAR designed specifically to meet search and rescue needs, real-time or near-real time on-board SAR processing, and processing algorithms for advanced automatic crash site detection, image geo- rectification and map registration.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 1997
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 3069, Automatic Target Recognition VII, (23 June 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.277101
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald G. Wallace, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
David W. Affens, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Houra Rais, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3069:
Automatic Target Recognition VII
Firooz A. Sadjadi, Editor(s)

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