Ground Stations

Local User Terminals (LUTs)

Cospas-Sarsat ground stations are called Local User Terminals (LUTs).  These satellite receiving units are the ground stations that receive emergency beacon distress alerts. Once a signal is received and processed at the LUT it is transmitted to the mission control center (MCC) that operates that particular LUT. The LUTs are fully automated and completely unmanned at all times.  

NOAA manages and operates three-types of LUTs. Low Earth Orbit LUTs (LEOLUTs), Medium Earth Orbiting LUTs (MEOLUTs) and Geostationary Earth Orbit LUTs (GEOLUTs) all track, receive and process alerts. 

 

Low Earth Orbit LUTs (LEOLUTs)

Local User TerminalEach LEOLUT usually consists of a tracking-enabled antenna, a processor, and communications equipment. LEOLUTs track, receive and process alerts from the POES, European Meteorological Operational (METOP) satellites, and the Russian Nadezhda satellites.
In the U.S., dual LEOLUTs are located at: 

Dual LEOLUTs at each site allow NOAA to resolve satellite tracking conflicts and provides redundancy in case of failure. There are currently 53 LEOLUTs in operation worldwide with several more being built each year.  Click here to see a map of the LEOLUT locations around the world.


Medium Earth Orbit LUTs (MEOLUTs)

MEOLUTs track, receive and process alerts from the SAR payloads on US GPS satellites, European Union Galileo satellites and Russian Federation GLONASS satellites. In the U.S., six channel MEOLUTs are located at:

 

 

 

 

 

Geostationary Earth Orbit LUTs (GEOLUTs)

GEOLUTs track, receive and process alerts from the SAR payloads on the GOES East and GOES West satellites. In the U.S., two GEOLUTs are located in Suitland, Maryland. Both GEOLUTs perform error detection and correction on 406 MHz distress beacon messages and automatically generate alert messages to the USMCC.


Once a signal is received and processed at the LUT it is transmitted to the mission control center (MCC) that operates that particular LUT. The LUTs are fully automated and completely unmanned at all times.  

The GEOLUTs are located in Suitland, Maryland at the U.S. Mission Control Center housed in NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility on the Suitland Federal Center.  There are currently 26 GEOLUTs in operation around the world.