Satellite’s launch set for August

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Satellite’s launch set for August

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning Thursday scheduled the launch of the Arirang-5 satellite on Aug. 22 from Yasny launch base in the Orenburg Region of Russia.

The notable feature of the multi-purpose satellite compared to its predecessors Arirang-2 and 3 lies in the adoption of Synthetic Aperture radar, a high-precision detection system that enables the satellite to operate in inclement weather. The radar can pierce through cloudy skies and the device can work in the dark, unprecedented to date.

The launch is aimed at capturing images of an object as small as 1 meter (3 feet) from nearly 550 kilometers (342 miles) above the Earth and, if lift-off goes as planned, will circle the Earth 15 times per day for five years.

The imagery will help Korea gather geographical information on the Korean Peninsula, detect signs of natural disasters and ramp up national security, in addition to information provided by the earlier Arirang-2 and 3.

With the Korea Aerospace Research Institute at the helm, the government embarked on the aerospace project in 2005 and spent 238.1 billion won ($211.9 million) on it.

Big industry players like Korean Air and Hanwha Group also participated in the project. The Arirang-5 was finished in April 2011 but the launch schedule, which was initially set for August 2011, had been postponed due to disagreement over launching site costs charged by Russia.

The persistent tension with North Korea pushed the South to pull more resources for space supremacy and it looks to pursue further advancement.

“We plan to launch Arirang-3A, which will provide us with infrared images. The launching will give us the upper hand over other countries,” said an official of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

By Park Eun-jee [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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