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Posted : 2013-04-07 18:28
Updated : 2013-04-07 18:28

Song's satellite to be launched April 19

By Kwon Ji-youn

Song Ho-jun
Song Ho-jun's cube satellite is encased in a see-through box, awaiting its launch. This miniaturized satellite, named "Open Sat," is to be loaded onto a launch vehicle at Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this weekend, and set to be launched on April 19.
/ Courtesy of Song Ho-jun
Song Ho-jun, 35, is a digital artist and researcher who has worked to make miniaturized, or cube, satellites for the past five years.

Now, the time has come to put his cube satellite into orbit.

"I am probably the first to both manufacture and launch a satellite," said Song. "Some people said I was crazy. Launch expenses alone reached up to 120 million won, most of which is debt, and I haven't paid rent for nine months. But I don't regret it."

The satellite is 10 centimeters in length and width, and weighs approximately one kilogram. Song has named the satellite "Open Sat." Sat is short for satellite.

Song plans to load the satellite he built onto a launch vehicle at Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this weekend, and it is set to be launched on April 19.

This is the first time a satellite will be manufactured and launched by an independent researcher. At first, Song intended to stop his work at the completion of simple functions but, as he furthered his research, he became more and more determined to finish the project.

"I didn't want to send it into space just because it moves," he said. "I wanted to fully understand its functions, so I became determined to finish it."

So Song scrapped the satellite he had been building, and began anew.

He experienced many difficulties along the way. He searched the Internet countless times to find solder that doesn't melt in space, and rummaged around the Cheonggye Stream shops to buy material for the aluminum alloy frame.

"The satellite needs to be built with components that make up rockets," Song said in an interview with The Korea Times. "It's almost impossible to get one's hands on such components."

"I'm not sure exactly how much it cost to build the satellite because it was manufactured over four or five years," Song continued.

As his project gained publicity, large companies sought after Song's project, but he refused to commercialize the satellite.

Song plans to return to his job as an artist after the launch.

"I would like to write a book about this experience," Song said, "And I would also like to accede to seminar requests, so that I can be of help to others like myself."


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