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Elham AbolFateh

Science & Technology

Satellite network activating in 2020 could mean the end of aviation mysteries

Thursday 17/January/2019 - 10:41 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
A satellite system completed this month will be able to track all planes in the future، its makers have said، the Daily Mail reports.

The newly deployed network would allow all planes to be tracked in real time and give air traffic controllers visualisations of where they are at all times.

The system، once live، could put an end to tragic aviation mysteries like the missing flight MH370، which vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
A web of 75 satellites are now orbiting around the Earth and could be tracking all planes in real time by 2020.

The system will a give air traffic controllers and airlines real-time visibility of aircraft around the entire planet for the first time ever.

The US company Iridium has called the network 'the only communications network with pole-to-pole coverage of the entire planet'.

The official statement from Iridium described it as 'six polar orbiting planes، each containing 11 crosslinked satellites totaling 66 in the operational constellation، creating a web of coverage around the Earth'.
Currently، planes are tracked by radar via a ground system of air traffic control that relies on a transmission from the black box in the cockpit sent every 10 to 15 minutes.

In the case of Malaysian flight MH370، the black box has never been recovered، partly because no one is sure where the plane went down.

The Asian aircraft's case is not uncommon.

According to CEO Don Thomas of Aireon، the air traffic surveillance company that belongs to Iridium، seventy percent of the world's airspace has no surveillance.

'Aircraft fly over the oceans and report back their positions to air traffic control every 10 to 15 minutes at best and in between those periods، no one knows where they are'، Mr Thomas told CBS.

Whats more، plane tracking is also limited to parts of the planet.

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