In May 2018, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and Jet Propulsion Laboratory once again made the news by setting a record when a pair of CubeSats reached an orbit one million kilometers from Earth. Beyond our normal interest in what is already a remarkable achievement, Normandeau has an unusual tie to the satellites: one of the CubeSats hosts a camera manufactured by Gumstix, the same firm that supplies the miniature Overo computers that are part of Normandeau’s ReCON™ technology. ReCON™ is a proprietary system developed to detect approaching condors or other VHF-tagged wildlife, and alert users to their presence. For example, through the US Fish and Wildlife Condor Recovery Program, uniquely identifiable VHF tags are attached to individual condors, which are federally listed as a critically endangered species. When tagged condors are within a detection grid surrounding a wind farm – 20 to 30 miles out in some cases – the system is alerted and the energy facility is given enough lead time to initiate an appropriate response.
We designed our ReCON™ system to scan all possible VHF-tag frequencies every two minutes, verify system health and function every fifteen minutes, and be highly customizable to meet specific client requirements. 3-D analysis to determine the optimum placement of detection stations, tracking rates, power and communication options, and system backup options can all be modified to meet unique project needs. It’s a great example of the way Normandeau’s scientists tap into other science-based industries to meet the challenge of protecting our rare, threatened and endangered species. We’re proud of our work with ReCON™, and it’s reassuring to know that our clients can rely on the same technologies that NASA relies on to survive the hardships of space.