Satellite SAR capabilities being enhanced UPI 3/6/2013 5:14:01 PM CAMBRIDGE, Ontario, March 6 (UPI) -- An advanced satellite payload for Cospas-Sarsat, the global search-and-rescue system, is to be developed by Canada's COM DEV International Ltd. The contract for the first phase of the Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue project was issued by Canada's Department of Public Works and Government Services and is worth about $4.6 million. The Cospas-Sarsat system was established in the 1970s by Canada, the United States, France and Russia and became operational in 1982. Under the contract, COM DEV will develop a fully integrated prototype MEOSAR repeater, which will provide enhanced and more rapid detection of emergency distress signals anywhere in the world from an orbit altitude of more than 16 miles. The repeaters will be used on the next generation constellation of Global Positioning Satellites. "We are pleased to have won another major contract for search-and-rescue repeaters," said Mike Pley, chief executive officer of COM DEV International. "This project demonstrates Canada's continued commitment to the global search-and-rescue system." COM DEV began the development of its MEOSAR technology in 2008 under through a Canadian Space Agency project.