SBIR Phase I: Emergency Beacons for the Distress Alerting Satellite System

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0539684
Agency Tracking Number: 0539684
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 05-557
Small Business Information
11750 Beltsville Drive, Beltsville, MD, 20705
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeff Khorrami
 (301) 577-6000
Business Contact
 Amy Hizoune
Title: Ms
Phone: (301) 577-6000
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project addresses the critical problems of detecting, locating, and rescuing individuals, vessels, and aircraft that are lost or in distress. For 25 years the COSPAS-SARSAT system has located and rescued over 17,000 individuals using satellite aided location of distress beacons. Existing beacons transmit signals on 121.5, 243, and 406MHz. The first 2 types transmit a tone signal and are located by tracking ground stations (with an "accuracy" of 5 to 20 km) using Doppler processing of the signals relayed ("Bent-pipe") by Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites. 406MHz beacons transmit signals at 5 watts that include encoded digital information such as the beacon ID, country code, etc. These beacons can be detected by LEO, GEO, and MEO (GPS) satellites. The company is building a new ground station for reception of 406MHz beacon signals relayed by GPS satellites. The new ground station will have a location accuracy of 1 km. This proposal outlines new beacon designs (signal structures) and processing algorithms that will reduce the location error to 10 meters. The impact on life saving will be tremendous, removing the "search" from search and rescue. The new beacons will be inexpensive, creating a large volume market. The focus for the initial market is to promote the new beacons via TSi's current ground station customers (10 countries, 5 more pending). As 121MHz beacons are phased out (in 2007), the world's fishing fleets, which have sought the least expensive beacon to meet regulatory requirements, will turn to the new beacon which will be much less expensive (by 50% or more) than existing 406MHz beacons. This purely economic motive will put superior technology in the hands of fishermen and commercial craft (e.g., passenger ferries), saving not only money but many, many lives. The new beacons will provide instantaneous, precise location and positive identification of the individual or vessel in distress.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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