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Korea successfully launches Arirang-5 satellite

Posted August. 24, 2013 05:58,   


South Korea’s new all-weather multipurpose satellite successfully made contact with a ground station Friday.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said that they successfully had the first communication contact with the Arirang-5 satellite at 2:35 a.m. local time in Russia (5:35 a.m. Korean Standard Time, confirming the satellite is generally in good shape.

The Arirang-5 was launched at 11:39 p.m. Thursday (Korean time) from a launch base in Yasny, Russia, using Russia`s Dnepr rocket. It was separated from the Rocket 15 minutes after the launch, communicated with the Troll Satellite Station in Antarctica in 32 minutes after the launch and with the Svalbard Satellite Station in Norway in 87 minutes, before having communication contact with the satellite station in Korea in 356 minutes after the launch. The satellite will be used to complement the Arirang 2 and 3 as an optical imaging Earth observation satellite, after finishing functional tests in its orbit for the next six months.

Equipped with a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) for the first time among Korean satellites, the Arirang-5 is expected to transmit real time high-resolution radar imagery for land and resource management and environmental surveillance taken from 550 kilometers above ground over the next five years.

The Arirang-2 and 3 were equipped with optical observation cameras and were easily affected by weather changes. They cannot take clear images of the Earth’s surface when it is cloudy or at night. The Arirang-5 allows Korea to overcome such limitations and be able to observe the Earth regardless of weather conditions.

Currently, only Germany, Italy, Israel and Russia have satellites equipped with the SAR. Equipped with a locally developed SAR model, the Arirang-5 is said to have established the foundation for future local development of the satellite payload.

“With the SAR imagery from the Arirang-5 and infrared satellite images obtained by the Arirang-3A to be launched earlier will make Korea able to obtain a variety of high-resolution observation data and maintain its market competitiveness on an equal level as the U.S., Russia, and other space powers.

South Korea has worked on the Arirang-5 development project for eight years, with participation by the KARI, together with private companies such as Korean Air, Doonsan Heavy Industries and Hanwha, among others.