Inmarsat: Satellite data analysis reveals direction of travel

Inmarsat: Satellite data analysis reveals direction of travel

PETALING JAYA - Inmarsat spokesman Chris McLaughlin described its data analysis that was used to determined that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had plunged into the Indian Ocean as a "ground-breaking math-based, peer-reviewed process revealing a direction of travel".


In an interview with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, McLaughlin explained: "Effectually, we looked at the doppler effect, which is the change in frequency due to the movement of a satellite in its orbit.

"What that then gave us was a predicted path (of the aircraft) for the northerly route and a predicted path the southerly route".

"What we discovered was a correlation with the southerly route and not with the northern route after the final turn that the aircraft made, so we could be as close to certain as anybody could be in that situation that it went south.

"Where we then went was to work out where the last ping was, knowing that the aircraft still had some fuel, but that it would have run out before the next automated ping.

"We don't know what speed the aircraft was flying at, but we assumed about 450 knots," concluded the senior vice-president of external affairs of the UK satellite communications company.

Inmarsat passed the data to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch on Sunday.

CNN World quoted McLaughlin as saying that Inmarsat was "saddened for the families involved", adding that he wished something useful might come out of the tragedy.

"The only thing you can hope is that from this, just as the Titanic resulted in the Safety of Lives at Sea law, there will be a mandate that all aircraft should be constantly tracked," he said.

Despite the airplane's communications system being shut off on the day it disappeared on March 8, one of Inmarsat's satellites had continued to receive hourly signals, also called pings, from MH370.

Analysis of the pings showed that MH370 continued to fly for at least five hours after leaving Malaysian airspace.

The plane was believed to have flown within either of two corridors, one leading north, (towards India, Bangladesh and Myanmar), the other heading south (over Indonesian airspace to the Indian Ocean).

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.