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U.N. body to discuss radio frequency spectrum for satellite tracking

All Headlines 11:38 September 17, 2014

SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- A United Nations agency for information and telecommunications will discuss the allocation of a global radio frequency for air-ground satellite communication following the failure of painstaking multinational search to find a missing Malaysian airplane, government officials said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Technology said the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will first address the issue when senior officials and experts gather for a conference to be held in the South Korean port city of Busan from Oct. 20 through Nov. 7.

The radio frequency band for satellite communication was recently included on the ITU's agenda as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has been considering adopting the satellite location tracking system from next year to better locate missing planes, the ministry said.

Ground stations currently stay in contact with airplanes every 3-5 seconds to track their locations, but the system includes gaps when planes fly over isolated areas or the middle of the ocean.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is believed to have disappeared somewhere in the Indian Ocean during its flight in March, prompting an extensive global search that is still underway.

While air-ground communication currently uses a radio frequency between 1,089 and 1,091 MHz, ITU members are expected to review ways to add another channel for sending and receiving satellite signals.

The ITU is the U.N.'s information and communications arm that manages various tasks, including setting technological standards, allocating radio frequencies and satellite orbits, and improving the quality of communications.

Organizers expect around 3,000 officials from the invited countries and 150 minister-level delegates from 193 countries to attend the conference, which is held every four years.


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