Korea set to launch multipurpose satellite
Korea is set to launch a multipurpose satellite equipped with a high-resolution camera from a Japanese space center as planned, the government said Thursday.
The Arirang 3 satellite is scheduled to lift off at 1:39 a.m. Friday from the launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center located south of Kyushu Island, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.
"All pre-launch preparations have moved forward as planned with the blastoff to take place as scheduled," it said.
The ministry said if the launch is successful, the satellite will separate from the rocket 16 minutes later and make initial contact with the Troll and Svalbard satellite stations located in Antarctica and Norway, respectively, before it sends signals to the Daejeon-based Korea Automotive Research Institute (KARI) around 3:19 a.m.
The satellite has an electro-optical camera with a resolution of around 70 centimeters that can give Seoul the ability to take precise pictures of weather front developments and the earth's surface.
The satellite is expected to stay operational for four years and can also be used to enhance national security, cope with natural disasters, better manage resources and monitor the environment.
The 980-kilogram satellite will be placed in a low orbit 685 kilometers from the earth's surface by Japan's H-IIA rocket.
The ministry said the Arirang 3, to be operated by the KARI, will be the country's first high-resolution "sub-meter" satellite. At present,
only a handful of countries in Europe and the United States have commercial satellites with such high resolution.
The government spent 286.6 billion won ($245.5 million) on the satellite building project, which began in 2004.
Seoul currently has an Arirang 3 multi-purpose satellite with a one-meter resolution camera in orbit along with a Chollian geostationary communication and ocean observation unit. (Yonhap)