Technologies developed at NASA have helped locate more than 46,000 people through Cospas-Sarsat, an international cooperative system for search and rescue. Furthering the impact of the program, the Strategic Partnerships Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has licensed a second-generation search-and-rescue technology to a company named Concentric Real Time LLC, based in Ellicott City, Maryland.

“NASA’s search and rescue technologies have saved the lives of thousands of people,” said Eric McGill, a senior technology manager with Goddard’s Strategic Partnerships Office. “By licensing this receiver technology, we’re expanding the reach of NASA’s lifesaving innovations.”

NASA’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Office, based at Goddard, generates search and rescue technologies for the Cospas-Sarsat community, which uses satellites to provide location data to authorities searching for people who are lost or otherwise in need of rescue. Individuals can carry personal locator beacons; ships, pleasure craft, and aircraft can store beacons on board in case of emergency, which Cospas-Sarsat uses to determine their position.

The new receiver improves on the previous generation of technologies, providing more accurate location data than older systems. Reese Bovard, the president of Concentric Real Time, built the new receiver that his company is licensing. Currently a contractor for NASA’s SAR Office, Bovard has worked at Goddard for 13 years as an engineer. The receiver he developed pairs with a new, higher-resolution signal that produces highly accurate location results.

Bovard said the receiver technology is an important building block for the new search-and-rescue system that NASA’s SAR Office has developed. Though civil search and rescue is the office’s primary mission, the group’s technologies have also been adapted for astronauts as part of their survival gear upon return.

“With search and rescue, there’s a direct humanitarian benefit that comes from this work,” Bovard said.

NASA’s Technology Transfer program ensures that technologies developed for missions in exploration and discovery are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the nation. NASA has an extensive patent portfolio and software catalog with hundreds of technologies available for licensing by the private sector.

To learn more about NASA’s Search and Rescue Office, please visit:

For more information on Goddard’s Strategic Partnerships Office, please visit: