Today, the Malaysian government released 45 pages of satellite data that was used in determining the direction of Flight 370, which has been missing since March 8. The raw data was first given to the families of those who were on board the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 before the information was released to the media.
Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board who were traveling to Beijing, China. It was last spotted on Malaysia’s military radar approximately 90 minutes after it took off. Malaysia led an international investigation which came to the conclusion that the airplane had flown south to the Indian Ocean close by Australia and had crashed.
The results of the investigation were based on calculations that were comprised of hourly transmissions between the airplane and a satellite. This information was the only source of data in tracking the flight as the airplane’s other communication systems were inactive. In determining the direction of the flight, investigators measured the signal frequency and combined that information with the performance of the airplane as well as the satellite’s location. The data that has been released consists of communication logs from a satellite system in the United Kingdom which is operated by the company Inmarsat.
Malaysia’s government has claimed to be transparent, however, contradictions on their behalf regarding the missing flight as well as an untimely release of information has caused many to become suspicious. Some families have requested that the data be reviewed by experts. Multiple physicists who specialize in satellite technology and mathematics have stated that they are not able to confirm the accuracy of the investigative team’s conclusion based on the data that has been released.
Satellite engineer Michael Exner has been thoroughly studying the calculations. He stated that the communication logs did not contain the algorithms and metadata which are key in confirming whether or not the investigative team’s conclusion is correct.
Bluefin 21, a high-tech, unmanned United States Navy submarine was deployed in April to search for possible debris from the missing airplane. It has been taking sonar images of the seafloor close to where potential sounds from a black box belonging to an airplane were detected in April.
Following Bluefin’s return home this week, the next portion of the search will be using powerful sonar equipment to cover a larger area of an estimated 60,000 square kilometers. The capability of the new equipment will allow for the search to go deeper into the ocean. Angus Houston, head of the search, known as the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, stated earlier this month that it would take a few months before the new equipment would be ready for deployment.
Shortly after the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 departed, it went off of the commercial radar while flying over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam. The search had initially began there until the investigative team’s conclusion moved the search to the Indian Ocean. Although no trace of the airplane has been discovered, families are holding on to some hope that the raw data can provide guidance as to the whereabouts of their missing loved ones.
By: Sarah Temori