Data from communications between satellites and missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is released.

MH370 satellite data released after months of waiting

By Saima Mohsin and Holly Yan, CNN
updated 12:51 AM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014

What will the Inmarsat data reveal?


  • Inmarsat and Malaysian officials held back the data for weeks
  • Families have been clamoring for the information
  • The data will allow for an independent analysis of what happened on March 8

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (CNN) -- Data from communications between satellites and missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was released Tuesday.

For weeks, the satellite company Inmarsat said it didn't have the authority to release the data, deferring to Malaysian authorities, which are in charge of the search for the plane that disappeared more than two months ago over Southeast Asia.

Last week, the two sides announced that they would aim to make the information available to the public. They released a 47-page document on Tuesday.

Photos: The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Malaysia to Inmarsat: Make data public

The satellite signals -- called "handshakes" -- with MH370 were part of a larger set of data that investigators have used to try to establish the whereabouts of the Boeing 777 that went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board.

MH370 new data to be released

Where is the MH370 satellite data?

A team of international experts used the data -- in combination with other information, including radar data and engine performance calculations -- to conclude that the plane ended up in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean.

Flight MH370 film pitch garners backlash

Family of MH370 passenger reacts to film

Searchers have so far found no wreckage and have not been able to say for sure where MH370 might be.

CNN aviation analyst Jeff Wise has said that "the box is going to open" when the satellite data gets publicized.

"It could produce more theories. It will probably cancel out a lot of theories," he said.

Either way, the release will hopefully give "a much better understanding of what's been going on all this time," Wise said.

Relatives of people who were on the passenger jet,scientists studying its disappearance and media covering the search have become increasingly critical about the lack of public information about why the search has focused on the southern Indian Ocean.

They have been calling for the release of the data that has informed the search efforts.

For a while, there was confusion over who could make it public and how.

Malaysian officials told CNN earlier this month that their government did not have the data. But Inmarsat officials said the company provided all of it to Malaysian officials "at an early stage in the search."

"We've shared the information that we had, and it's for the investigation to decide what and when it puts out," Inmarsat Senior Vice President Chris McLaughlin said earlier this month.

But a senior Malaysian official told CNN that the government needed Inmarsat's help to pass on the data to families "in a presentable way."

"We are trying to be as transparent as possible," the official said. "We have no issues releasing the data."

Did Inmarsat data point Flight 370 searchers in wrong direction?

Cannes: Movie maker courts controversy with MH370 thriller