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Sunday July 5th, 2015 11:00AM

UNG Q&A: Using satellites to seek missing airliner

By Staff
In recent weeks, a multitude of different technologies have been used in attempts to locate Malaysian Airlines flight 370 (MH370), which disappeared on March 8.

Chris Strother and Zac Miller, two experts from the University of North Georgia's Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis (IESA), explain satellite technology and remote sensing and how both have been used in the search for MH370.

*What type of technology was used to determine the likely path of the missing plane?

A communications satellite recorded "pings" for several hours after all other contact with MH370 was lost. Once an hour, the satellite asks an airliner's data network "Are you still there?" and the ping, also called a "handshake," is an airliner answering "yes."

The increasing amount of time it took for MH370's answering ping to reach the satellite each hour indicated the airliner was moving away from the satellite's stationary position over the Indian Ocean. Additional analysis determined MH370 most likely crashed into the Indian Ocean south of Australia.

Some communications and weather satellites are geostationary, meaning they are designed to remain over the same spot at all times in a geosynchronous orbit
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