SARSAT Acronyms

Glossary of terms

AFRCC – U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center located at Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL.

AMVER – Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System…a U.S. Coast Guard program that constantly tracks thousands of merchant vessels worldwide. These vessels have volunteered to respond to calls for rescue or assistance from other vessels or people in distress.

CAP – Civil Air Patrol…a network of volunteers that conduct SAR operations. (usually under the direction of the AFRCC)

COSPAS – Cosmicheskaya Systyema PoiskaAvariynich Sudov…loosely translated from the Russian language, this means “space system for the detection of vessels in distress.”

ELT – Emergency Locator Transmitter

EPIRB – Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

FAA – Federal Aviation Administration….the charged with overseeing aviation safety.

FSS – Flight Service Station….facilities interspersed throughout the U.S. that provide flight planning and emergency assistance to aircraft

GEOSAR – Geostationary Search and Rescue (also see LEOSAR).

GOES – Geostationary Orbiting Environmental Satellite…Geostationary satellite system that carries the SARP (see below for SARP definition).

GSFC – Goddard Space Flight Center located in Greenbelt, Maryland

ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization

IMO – International Maritime Organization

INMARSAT – International Mobile Satellite Organization

LEO – Low Earth Orbiter…polar-orbiting satellite, much closer to Earth than GOES (also see POES).

LEOSAR – Low Earth Orbiting Search and Rescue (also see GEOSAR).

LUT – Local User Terminal

MCC – Mission Control Center

NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NESDIS – National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service…the branch of NOAA responsible for operation of U.S. environmental and weather satellites.

NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NSARC – National Search and Rescue Committee

OSE – Operational Support Equipment…the mobile LUT stationed at the USMCC.

PLB – Personal Locator Beacon

POES – Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite…LEO satellite system that carries SARSAT instruments called SARR and SARP. Satellites also known as NOAA, METSAT and TIROS.

RCC – Rescue Coordination Center

SAR – Search and Rescue

SARP – Search and Rescue Processor…the instrument carried onboard SARSAT satellites that receives, processes and stores 406 MHz beacon signals.

SARR – Search and Rescue Repeater…the instrument carried onboard SARSAT satellites that receives and retransmits 406 MHz signals and transmits the processed data from the SARP.

SARSAT – Search And Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking

SEDL – System Evaluation and Development Laboratory…LUT at NASA-GSFC used for SARSAT research and development and on-orbit testing of SARSAT satellites.

SSE – System Support Equipment…the LUT co-located at the USMCC that is used to test and monitor system modifications.

USAF – United States Air Force


USCG – United States Coast Guard

USMCC – United States Mission Control Center…located in Suitland, Maryland (just outside Washington, D.C.)