March 27, 2015 12:03
The homegrown Arirang-3A multipurpose satellite was successfully sent into space on Thursday. Once it is operational, the satellite will be cable of observing the earth even at night or in bad weather thanks to infrared vision.
The Arirang-3A satellite was launched from the Yasny base in Russia at 7:08:45 a.m. Korean time, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
The satellite separated from its launch vehicle at an altitude of 537 km 883 seconds after launch. It communicated with the Troll Satellite Station in the Antarctica 32 minutes after launch.
Some 87 minutes after launch, the satellite communicated to the Svalbard Satellite Station in Norway the news that its solar panel unfolded successfully.
It was finally accessible from the ground control center of the Korea Aerospace Institute in Daejeon at 1:04 p.m., five hours and 56 minutes after launch.
Choi Suk-won, the chief of the project team at KAI, said the satellite's communications system, solar panel and antenna are operating stably.
The Arirang-3A will observe the earth after three to six months of tests. It will orbit the earth 15 times a day at an altitude of 528 km for four years, passing over the Korean Peninsula twice a day.
Its optical lens can identify 50 cm-large objects on the ground. The infrared sensor is expected to play a big role in monitoring nuclear facilities in North Korea, which produce a lot of heat, as well as the urban heat island phenomenon and wildfires.
Korea already operates three multipurpose satellites, the Arirang 2, 3 and 5.
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