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Korea plans series of new satellite launch

The Korean Multipurpose Satellite-2 (KOMPSAT-2)

NEW DELHI (BNS): Korea's space agency plans to launch a series of new satellites beginning with the state-of-the-art communication, ocean and meteorological satellite (COMS-1), in April this year.

The COMS-1 satellite as part of the payload will be attached to an Ariane-5 rocket, that is scheduled to be launched next month from the Guiana Space Center, the European Space Agency's (ESA) spaceport in French Guiana, a report by the Koream Times said.

The multipurpose satellite is designed for meteorological observation and ocean surveillance, while its orbital position will also allow it to be used for communications purposes.

The Korean Multipurpose Satellite-2 (KOMPSAT-2), also called the Arirang-2, is currently the only Korean satellite providing Earth observation images.

"As the country's first GTO satellite, the COMS-1, at 36,000 kilometers above the Earth, will work 24 hours a day to provide its observation data and communications functions for the next seven years. The satellite will be critical in improving the accuracy of weather reports and also help the country make better use of its marine resources," the daily quoted Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) President Lee Joo-jin as saying.

The launch will be followed by KOMPSAT-5 (Arirang-5), the KOMPSAT-3 (Arirang-3) and KOMPSAT-3A (Arirang-3A).

The KOMPSAT-5, to be launched from Kazakhstan by the end of the year, will be the first Korean satellite to be equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capability.

KARI plans to launch the KOMPSAT-3 by next year. The satellite will be equipped with an optical camera that will provide ground resolution as sharp as 70 centimeters per pixel, a better optical capability than the KOMPSAT-2.

The KOMPSAT-3A, slated for launch in 2013, will be equipped with an infrared sensor system that is designed to obtain images based on changes in temperature.

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