The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications cooperated with the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme (Cospas-Sarsat) in launching the Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue Satellite (MEOSAT) and plans for the establishment of a Medium Earth Orbit Local User Terminal (MEOLUT) for Taiwan in Dapingding, Pingtung County. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 14. The completion of the terminal will greatly improve the accuracy of positioning, reduce the time required for positioning, and improve the efficiency of rescue operations.
According to the resolution of the 55th meeting of the Cospas-Sarsat Council, as the current Low-Earth Orbiting Search and Rescue (LEOSAR) satellites will soon suspend services, Cospas-Sarsat requests member states to complete the initial operational capability (IOC) for the establishment of medium earth orbit systems before 2018 in order to achieve the goal of normal operations of MEOSAT across the globe by 2020.
The MPB actively advanced the project to facilitate the replacement of Taiwan's existing LEOSAR to MEOSAT. The required funding amounted to NT$224.5 million, and the construction of the terminal is expected to be completed before the end of 2018. The MPB will report to the Cospas-Sarsat Council in 2019 to determine the schedule for commencing operations.
The groundbreaking ceremony was hosted by MPB Director-General David Hsieh on June 14. Mr. Hsieh stated that once the MEOLUT commences operations, it will provide Taiwan with quicker and more precise positioning information on vessels in danger. It will also continuously receive and transmit information to facilitate international reporting mechanisms and assist in humanitarian rescue operations for the world. At the same time, Taiwan can also use the dense coverage of receiving satellites to effectively shorten the time required for search and rescue and improve the efficiency of rescue operations.