MEOSAR stands for Medium-altitude Earth Orbit Search And Rescue and is a system of satellites designed to pick up signals from distress beacons.
A MEOLUT (MEOSAR Local User Terminal) or earth station is located next to the Taupo Radio receiver site in the central North Island of New Zealand. It opened in December 2016, replacing a station using Low Earth Orbiting satellites.
This MEOLUT has six antennas, each one tracking a different MEOSAR satellite in orbit between 19,000 and 24,000km above the Earth to relay EPIRB, PLB, and ELT alerts to Canberra. Alerts in the NZ Search and Rescue Region are then relayed to the Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington. All this happens in about five minutes from the distress beacon activation.
- EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) used by mariners
- (Personal Locator Beacon) used by hunters, trampers, mountain bikers, mountaineers
- ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) carried on aircraft
– Tony Graham