The Cospas-Sarsat satellite constellation is composed of search and rescue satellites in low Earth orbit (LEOSAR) and geostationary orbit (GEOSAR).

LEOSAR Satellite Constellation

The nominal system configuration is four satellites, two Cospas and two Sarsat

Russia supplies two Cospas satellites placed in near-polar orbits at 1000 km altitude and equipped with SAR instrumentation at 406 MHz.

The USA supplies two NOAA meteorological satellites placed in sun-synchronous, near-polar orbits at about 850 km altitude, and equipped with SAR instrumentation at 406 MHz supplied by Canada and France.

Each satellite makes a complete orbit of the Earth around the poles in about 100 minutes, traveling at a velocity of 7 km per second. The satellite views a "swath" of the Earth of approximately 6000 km wide as it circles the globe, giving an instantaneous "field of view" about the size of a continent. When viewed from the Earth, the satellite crosses the sky in about 15 minutes, depending on the maximum elevation angle of the particular pass.

GEOSAR Satellite Constellation

The GEOSAR constellation is comprised of satellites provided by the USA (GOES series), India (INSAT series) and EUMETSAT (MSG series).

[Current status of LEOSAR and GEOSAR space segments | Map of GEOSAR Coverage ]