Part of my job as a LANT SAR controller is to monitor our SARSAT system watching for 406MHZ “hits” around the world. And in doing so it never really dawned on me where the satellites were in the atmosphere picking up the signals for such distresses, that was until a co-worker of mine sent a Google overlay (Google Earth .kmz file below) to all of the SAR controllers in an effort to help visualize where the COSPAS, SARTSAT, and GEOS Search and Rescue satellites are orbiting at any given moment. Well after looking a combo of their trajectory and range (equaling blind spots) it’s easy to see why the times vary so much when trying to get such a satellite to pick up you 406MHZ EPIRB. And even if they can’t pick up your signal, it’ll be nice to know when they will.
We decided to take this one step further by including the map. Take a look: