The Search for MH370

Serving the MH370 Global Community

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on 3 February 2022 at 18:13:20 UTC with 49 Starlink satellites to be deployed on mission Starlink 4-7. As the Falcon 9 was inclined towards the equator at approx 53 degrees, TI4JWC in Costa Rica as WSPR Tx (transmitter) and the European Space Center of ESA in Kourou, French Guiana as WSPR Rx (receiver) FY5KE were selected to provide a baseline of around 3,500 km in length in order to detect the launch.

The SpaceX Falcon launch was detected by WSPRnet signals just after the launch at 18:18 UTC and in low earth orbit at 18:38 UTC. Two single hop ionospheric propagations showed SNR anomalies of more than 3 standard deviations. The initial low earth orbit of the spacecraft was at 210 km above the earth and the ionospheric ray tracing showed the maximum altitude of the WSPR propagation path at 270 km. There were excellent HF radio propagation conditions at the time of the launch with a Solar Flux Index greater than 120.

A report by Dr. Robert Westphal and Richard Godfrey can be downloaded here