GRIMASSE participating to the Cospas-Sarsat JC-33 in Doha, Qatar

GRIMASSE project team will be well represented at the next Cospas-Sarsat Joint Committee that will take place from June 11th to June 21st in Doha Qatar.

TO celebrate its integration to the Cospas-Sarsat program, Qatar will hosts its first JC and GRIMASSE partners from Thales Alenia Space and ECA Aerospace (previously ELTA) will participate as members of the French Delegation and Togolese delegation (Togo being also a new participant to the program).

Among the agenda items of the JC, several are directly related to GRIMASSE activities and in particular Second Generation Beacon specifications and tests, Distress Tracking Repository definition and Cospas-Sarsat compliance to it and moving beacons localization.

Stay connected to know what were the major outcomes of JC-33 regarding aeronautical SAR.



GRIMASSE progress status

GRIMASSE project team took benefit of the Winter and Spring to develop the hardware and software that will compose the end-to-end demonstrator of the solution for the in-flight demonstrations of Summer 2019.

ECA Aerospace (former ELTA, worldwide leader of the aviation distress beacon manufacturers) developed the GADGET demonstrator: the first cost-effective distress beacon specifically designed for General Aviation with user-friendly features such as smartphone connected via Bluetooth to the beacon to be used as Remote Control Panel (for manual distress activation and beacon monitoring), easy-registration with QR-code based registration functionality (flash the QR-code and be automatically logged to the pre-filled registration file of your beacon). The GADGET also offers the possibility to test new Galileo Return-Link Services that are under study and developed at European Commission level (part of the GaReLiSE project led by Thales Alenia Space) and in particular the 2-way messaging: a service that allow rescue operators to communicate via short messages with the persons in distress. The GADGET finally integrates a GNSS chip-set (multi constellation GPS and Galileo) developed by STMicroelectronics. The figure here below displays teh GADGET demonstrator.


Beyond the distress beacon demonstrator, PILDO Labs, our Spanish partner, developed software tools for Rescue Coordination Center operators called the SAR SWIM Management System (SSMS). The SSMS is an emergency management platform designed to provide the RCC with a set of software tools and features to ease the emergency information management while reducing response times before, during and after a distress event. Among others, some of the main use cases that SSMS cover are:

  • User management features for full SAR operations management;
  • Automatic reception/parsing of DTR and SIT messages transmitted by MCCs (see SIT 185 format in [RD1] and [RD2]);
  • Automatic request/reception of beacon registry data and flight plan information;
  • Automatic statistics/report generation;
  • RLSP controls for requesting RLMs.

The SSMS has been designed as a web service, being accessible from any internet browser by using valid user credentials. Using a responsive GUI, the SSMS layout becomes automatically adjusted depending on the monitor size, allowing displaying the application in a readable manner even in tablets or smartphones. The figure here-after displays the SSMS emergency management screen.


To complete the operational chain with the GADGET and the SSMS, Thales Alenia Space MEOLUT Next product will be used to detect and process the GADGET distress messages (alert and cancellation) and emulate the MCC t odeliver the distress data to the RCC via the SSMS and to the simulated Distress Tracking data Repository developed for the demonstration. The aeronautical SAR operational chain is then entirely simulated for the flight demonstrations which offers the possibility to assess the performances of the final solution.

Finally, taking benefit of another project led by Thales Alenia Space, a new homing solution will also be tested as part of GRIMASSE demonstrations. This solution is based on small UAVs used for the final localization of the distress beacon.

End-to-end lab tests of the integrated solution will take place tomorrow Wednesday 22nd of May 2019 between Toulouse and Barcelona and an integration workshop is planned for early July in Barcelona, immediately followed by the dry-run of the first field trial planned to take place in the Aeroclub of Barcelona Sabadell in July 2019.

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.