Participation to Cospas-Sarsat JC-32 to support challenging discussions on Return-Link and ELT(DT)

GRIMASSE project was well represented at the 32nd Joint Committee of the UN organization Cospas-Sarsat that took place in Montreal, Canada, from October 15th to October 26th. Representatives of Thales Alenia Space, GRIMASSE prime contractor, and ECA Group ELTA, ELT manufacturer, attended the meeting which was chaired by Mr. Didier DELCUVELLERIE from CNES (SAR program of CNES is an official supporter of the GRIMASSE project). Swiss Federal Organization for Civil Aviation (FOCA) and Australian Maritime Security Agency, both supporters of the project, were also part of the participants to the JC-32 which gathered more than 150 SAR people from 38 delegations of member countries and 3 observer organization: European Commission (EC, representing ESA, EUROCAE and GSA as well), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM).

Among the most discussed topics, several were directly connected to the problematic addressed within GRIMASSE and in particular:

  • Anomalies processing: the processing of anomalies (data-package interpreted by the MEOLUT as an alert and transmitted to the MCC is a general concern for the complete SAR operational chain as it represents a critical additional workload for MCC operators;
  • Main field and Rotating field definitions for Second Generation Beacons (SGB) and ELT(DT) in particular in C/S T.018;
  • Return-Link Service performances (in particular for Type-1 acknowledgement), operational capability declaration and future evolution (in particular Remote Activation but also command services for transmission parameters change and messaging service).

The entry in Initial Operational Capability of the MEOSAR system has also been much discussed:

  • Space segment commissioning (new Galileo satellites, GPS constellation an future Beidou SAR payloads);
  • Ground segment commissioning and in particular MEOLUT commissionnings;
  • Status of reference and calibration beacons.Photo.PNG

GRIMASSE technical manager on Youtube … soon

Dear all, last April, GRIMASSE Tehcnical Manager contributed to the shooting of FAQ-videos and tutorial-video-minis for the Cospas-Sarsat program. We kept the secret until now but the video shall be released online in the coming weeks, during the 32nd Cospas-Sarsat Joint Committee and we will put the link on GRIMASSE website so you can enjoy the acting performances of GRIMASSE technical manager.

Beyond the fun aspect of shooting videos and ending up online, this activity was a meaningful commitment for GRIMASSE (and GRICAS) project as it gives visibility to our project but it also is a way to actively contribute to the everyday’s life of the Cospas-Sarsat program: establishing a link with beacon users that the people we want to serve and help and the first one to benefit from the innovations developed in our projects.


GRICAS: an European Star?

GRICAS partners that are now involved in GRIMASSE project are very glad to inform you that the GRICAS project has been selected by the French Ministry of Graduate Study, Research and Innovation to compete for the 6th « Trophée des Etoiles de l’Europe » or Trophy of European Stars. This honorary price aims at rewarding and valuing the European commitment of searchers who have illustrated themselves by the success of their projects, highlighting their work and encouraging their colleagues to answer to future European Horizon 2020 calls for projects. (By the way, we are already preparing a project proposal for the Horizon 2020 call of 2019! we will keep you posted).

The GRICAS project manager submitted the application form to the committee of the trophy mid-September and we are now waiting for the decision: the jury will deliberate early-November for an awards ceremony the 5th of December in Paris. Stay tuned to know if we won!


GRICAS and GRIMASSE at the 25th Joint Working Group on Hamonization of SAR of ICAO and IMO

In September 2018, GRICAS and GRIMASSE Technical Manager, Pauline MARTIN, from Thales Alenia Space, was invited by the United Sates Coast Guards (U.S.C.G) to present the results of GRICAS study and introduces GRIMASSE projects to the 25th International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization Joint Working Group on Harmonization of Search and Rescue (IMO/ICAO JWG on SAR) held by the U.S.C.G. in Seattle, Washington, USA. The U.S.C.G. dedicated a 1 hour time slot to the GRICAS and GRIMASSE projects which has been the opportunity for GRICAS and GRIMASSE technical manager to exchange with SAR responders experts on the results of GRICAS in terms of performance of localization in-flight of an aircraft in distress and on the operational concept of GRIMASSE for the development of a new type of distress beacons specifically designed for General Aviation associated with innovative SAR management tools for RCC operators. Participants have been very much impressed by both projects and expet the results of GRIMASSE in-flight tests to be presented at the 26th JWG on SAR in 2019.

GRIMASSE supports EUROCAE for the specification of RLS use in Aeronautical SAR

GRIMASSE partners, and in particular Thales Alenia Space and ECA Group ELTA, is supporting EUROCAE for several years for the developement of the new standards for aeronautical Search And Rescue. In particular, EUROCAE Working Group 98 (WG98) is currently developing the Minimum Operational Performance Standard (MOPS) ED-62 issue B for Aircraft Emergency Locator Transmitters and Thales Alenia Space and ECA Group  ELTA are actively contributing to the work of the group and was already supporting the WG that published in 2016 the Minimum Aviation System Performance Specifications (MASPS) ED-237 for Criteria to Detect In-Flight Aircraft Distress Events to Trigger Transmission of Flight Information. The WG-98 is now continuing its work to develop a MASPS for Return Link Service and Thales Alenia Space and ECA Group ELTA, joined by PILDO labs, is contributing to this work.

The activity is performed within the EUROCAE Working Group 98 Sub-Group 1and the group has begun work on the following deliverable:

  • ED-xxx, Minimum Aviation System Performance Specification for Aircraft Emergency Locator Transmitter Return Link Service

This document is expected to be published early 2020 for implementation, meaning a final review around mid-2019. The activities started in April 2018 with a 2 days kick off meeting in EUROCAE premises in Paris and was followed in June and September of the same year by two plenary meetings respectively held in GSA premises in Prague and EUROCAE premises in Paris. The WG98 SG1 benefit from the experience of valuable European industrials and administrations among which ECA Group ELTA and Orolia as co-chairmen of the group and GSA as secretariat. The United States are supporting the initiatives through the participation of FAA and NASA to the meetings and teleconferences.

GRIMASSE consortium is deeply involved in the activities of the group, illustrating the commitment of GRIMASSE project to make aviation safer and improve the aeronautical SAR system and making the group benefit from strong assets brought by its industrial partners:

  • Thales Alenia Space: involved in Cospas-Sarsat and Galileo programs for more than 20 years as SAR payload designer; producer of the innovative MEOSAR antenna solution called MEOLUT Next now selected by Canada, France, European Commission and Togo as their SAR ground segment antenna solution.
  • ECA Group ELTA: worldwide leader in aeronautical Emergency Locator Transmitter market and developer of the GRICAS SGB ELT(DT) demonstrator, the first ELT(DT) to be tested in-flight.
  • PILDO Labs: specialized in delivering top of the edge technology and services within the aeronautics and aerospace sectors which make the WG98 SG1 benefits from its expertise in SWIM.

The 3 GRIMASSE partners have taken key roles in the WG98 SG1 :

  • ECA Group ELTA is co-chair and work package leader for the airborne segment standard specification (i.e. the beacon)
  • PILDO Labs is work package leader for the operation segment standard specification (i.e. the integration of the RLS to the SAR ground operation chain)
  • Thales Alenia SPace supports PILDO and ELTA in their tasks, contirbute to the space borne segement standard specification (i.e. the Signal-In-Space, the RL messages…) and co-chair with Orolia the dissemination work pacakge to ensure the dissemination of the work of the group towards all the stakeholders.

The GRIMASSE partners also care to ensure a close iteration process between the work performed and the progresses made within the group for the standardization of the RLS use for aeronautical SAR and the activities of the project to develop SAR solution for general aviation.

The activities of the WG98 SG1 have been introduced to the Cospas-Sarsat Expert Working Group Meeting on Second-Generation Beacon (SGB) Specifications in April 2018 through an information paper provided by GRIMASSE project and the progress of hte group will be presented end of October at the 32nd Joint Committee with 2 working papers and an information paper. Coordination with SAR community and Cospas-Sarsat members in particular appears essential to ensure the most appropriate standardization specification for the use of the RLS in aeronautical SAR and to make the international community benefit from the highest service quality of the SAR/Galileo Return-Link Service.


GRIMASSE introduced to Cospas-Sarsat Expert Working Group 1 2018

EWG-1-2018_Group Photo

Last April 2018, GRIMASSE consortium members Thales Alenia Space and ELTA participated to the Cospas-Sarsat Expert Working Group 1 2018 on SGB and FGB/SGB ELT(DT) chaired by Mr. Jesse REICH from NOAA in Montreal, Canada.

The EWG-1 was the opportunity to present an information paper describing the main objectives of the GRIMASSE projects and reporting the outputs of the Workshop held in Barcelona, Spain, in January 2018.

The design of the future cost-effective ELT for General Aviation with Distress Tracking functionalities interested very much the participants of the EWG-1 in particular regarding the compliance to international (ICAO) and regional (RTCA, EUROCAE) regulations and the antenna design. GRIMASSE technical manager confirms the intent to produce in the frame of the project a demonstrator of a product that will comply with regulations, at least in Europe and to provide the most performing design to the users in particular regarding the 406 MHz antenna accommodation to transmit the distress messages in-flight and after crash.

Finally, the GRIMASSE technical manager was invited to participate to the shooting of Cospas-Sarsat FAQ and explicative videos to be posted online by the end of the year: stay tuned!