Satellites picked up ‘pings’ from Malaysia jet, sources say

People walk under a Malaysia Airlines sign at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Credit: Reuters
People walk under a Malaysia Airlines sign at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Credit: Reuters

Communications satellites picked up faint electronic pulses from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after it went missing on Saturday, but the signals gave no information about where the stray jet was heading and little else about its fate, two sources close to the investigation said on Thursday.

The “pings” indicated that the aircraft’s maintenance troubleshooting systems were switched on and ready to communicate with satellites as needed. But no data links were opened because the companies involved had not subscribed to that level of service from the satellite operator, the sources said.

The system transmits such pings about once an hour, the sources said, but it remains unclear how many signals the plane sent after air traffic control lost track of it.

Boeing Co., which made the missing 777 airliner, and Rolls-Royce, which supplied its Trent engines, declined to comment.

Earlier Malaysian officials denied reports that the aircraft had continued to send technical data and said there was no evidence that it flew for hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers early Saturday after taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

The Wall Street Journal had reported that U.S. aviation investigators and national security officials believed the Boeing 777 flew for a total of five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from its engines as part of a standard monitoring program.

Sources familiar with the investigation reiterated that neither Boeing nor Rolls-Royce had received any engine maintenance data from the jet after the point at which its pilots last made contact. Only one engine maintenance update was received during the normal phase of flight, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

That said, the latest evidence of an electronic whisper from the plane, extending an electronic handshake to satellites but containing no data, suggests the aircraft was at least capable of communicating, though nothing else is known about its situation or whereabouts.

There is still no evidence that demonstrates the plane’s disappearance was related to foul play, U.S. security sources stressed, though the officials said they still have not ruled out the possibility of terrorism.

Reuters reported on Monday that the aircraft had made no automatic contact with the ground after vanishing with 239 people on board.

Modern aircraft can communicate with airline operations bases and sometimes with the headquarters of its manufacturers automatically in order to send maintenance alerts known as ACARS messages. It was this system that sent out the regular ping, which may have lasted for several hours, the sources said.

Airlines can also subscribe to an expanded service that collects more data about the performance of the aircraft and sends it back to maintenance control rooms at the airline and Boeing.

But Malaysia Airlines had not signed up for Boeing’s Airplane Health Management system, people familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…