COSPAS / SARSAT
This page contains philatelic information on the COSPAS / SARSAT program. Catalog numbers, years of issue, and notes on the satellites featured are given when available. If readers know of additional information or images, please contact the authors using the e-mail addresses at the bottom of this page.
The SARSAT program is operated by Canada, USA, and France, while the COSPAS system is operated by Russia. Thirty-two other nations also participate in the program. The two satellite systems work together, receiving signals from emergency radio beacons and relaying them to ground stations which process the signals and calculate the locations of the beacons. This allows search and rescue authorities to send rescue missions to those locations.
The necessary COSPAS/SARSAT equipment has been placed aboard various satellites:
Worldwide, over 20,000 persons have been rescued by the COSPAS/SARSAT system since 1982. Unlike the Argos Data Collection and Location System intended for environmental data and limited other use, SARSAT is designed specifically for the rescue of persons in distress. However, many of the system characteristics are similar, such as global coverage provided by the use of the same polar-orbiting weather satellites to collect and transfer the data to ground stations. Reference: http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/
(including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers)
|Other postal items
(stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.)
|COSPAS / SARSAT program||COSPAS / SARSAT program|
Below is a list of COSPAS / SARSAT program on postal items (stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.).
|Country||Catalog Number||Type of Item||Year of Issue||Notes on Content|
|COSPAS / SARSAT program|
|Cambodia||782 (Mi860)||1987||Kosmos-1383/1447/1574 type / Nadezhda satellite, COSPAS acronym|
|Cambodia||875 (BL160)||On stamp of SS1||1988||Nadezhda satellite, COSPAS acronym|
|Canada||2111 (Mi2280-2283)||MS8 (2x 2111 (a-d))||2005||NOAA and Nadezhda satellites, "Search and Rescue"|
|Canada||2111a-d fdc||Strip of four stamps on FDC|
|Pakistan||1150 leaflet (Mi1378 leaflet)||FDC leaflet back, also front||2011||"Search & Rescue Satellite System (COSPAS - SARSAT)"|
|Russia (USSR)||5603 (BL196)||On stamp and in (upper) margin of SS1||1987||NOAA and Nadezhda satellites, COSPAS/SARSAT acronyms|
|Russia (USSR)||5603 cover (BL196 cover)||SS1 and (black printed) cachet on cover||1987?||NOAA and Nadezhda satellites, COSPAS/SARSAT patch (in cachet), also with NOAA and Nadezhda satellites|
|Russia (USSR)||None||Cachet on stamped envelope||1987||Nadezhda satellite, COSPAS acronym|
|Russia (USSR)||None||(Pictorial) cancel and (multi-color printed) cachet on stamped envelope||1987||Nadezhda satellite, COSPAS acronym|
|Tonga||785 (Mi1181-1183)||Strip of 3 (785 (a-c))||1991||NOAA satellite, SARSAT depiction|
|Tonga||785 specimen||Strip of 3 (785 (a-c)), overprinted "specimen"|
|United States||None||(COSPAS/SARSAT logo) cachet (and signature) on cover||1994||NOAA and Nadezhda satellites|
Below is a list of COSPAS / SARSAT program on satellite launch covers.
|Country||Cancel Date||Cancel Location||Type of Item||Notes on Content|
|COSPAS / SARSAT program|
|United States||1983-03-28||Vandenberg AFB, CA||(Red and green printed) cachet on NOAA-8 launch cover||"international search and rescue"|
|United States||1983-03-28||Greenbelt MD||(GSFC Stamp Club) cachet on NOAA-8 launch cover||SARSAT patch|
|United States||1983-03-28||Vandenberg AFB, CA||(Space Voyage purple and blue) cachet on NOAA-8 launch cover||COSPAS/SARSAT patch, SARSAT acronym|
|United States||1983-03-28||Greenbelt MD||(Space Voyage green and blue) cachet on NOAA-8 launch cover|
|United States||1984-12-12||Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB||(Space Voyage) cachet on NOAA-9 launch cover||COSPAS/SARSAT patch, SARSAT acronym|
|United States||1984-12-12||Greenbelt MD||(Space Voyage) cachet on NOAA-9 launch cover|
|United States||1985-03-24||Park Forest IL||(Space Voyage) cachet on TIROS-1 anniversary cover||SARSAT acronym|
|United States||1986-09-17||Greenbelt MD||(Space Voyage green and orange) cachet on NOAA-10 launch cover||SARSAT acronym|
|United States||1986-09-17||Vandenberg AFB, CA||(Space Voyage brown and orange) cachet on NOAA-10 launch cover|
|United States||1988-09-24||Geeenbelt MD||(Space Voyage brown and orange) cachet on NOAA-11 launch cover||SARSAT acronym|
|United States||1988-09-24||Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB||(Space Voyage grey and green) cachet on NOAA-11 launch cover|
|United States||2009-02-06||Vandenberg AFB, CA||(Mission 57) cachet on NOAA-19 launch cover back, also front||"NOAA-N Prime is crucial to international satellite-aided search and rescue organizations, which have helped save over 24,500 lives since 1982 by detecting emergency beacons from ships, aircraft and people in distress"|
|Russia||2009-07-21 / 2009-07-21||Kosmodrome Plesetsk / Archangelsk Province||(Multi-color printed) cachet on Kosmos-2454 + Sterkh-1 launch cover||COSPAS/SARSAT patch|
|Russia||2009-09-17||Kosmodrome Baikonur Kazakhstan||(Multi-color printed) cachet on Meteor-M1 and Sterkh-2 and IRIS and RS-28 and RS-38 and OSCAR-67 and BLITS launch cover||conical omni-directional antenna on Sterkh satellite, possibly a COSPAS antenna|
1Conical omni-directional antennas depicted on these items are similar to those on Nadezhda satellites that receive COSPAS signals. A good depiction of a conical omni-directional antenna like that on Nadezhda is seen as a detail of a Russian Venera satellite on Togo C344.
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