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Korea counts down to science satellite launch

YASNY, Russia ― South Korea’s new science satellite will be launched from a Russian launch base Thursday, beginning a two-year mission to tease out the earliest clues about the evolution of the universe.

The team in Russia said Tuesday that the Science and Technology Satellite 3, or STSAT-3, was “full-ready” for the launch after completing a simulation test.

This marks the culmination of a month of work testing and preparing the country’s first satellite equipped with an infrared space telescope for launch at the Yasny base in Orenburg, just north of the border with Kazakhstan.

Since the satellite was shipped to the launch base on Oct. 24, a team of Korean technicians in cooperation with Russian engineers have been through an intense series of tests to ensure launch readiness.

The STSAT-3, whose mass is about 170 kg, has been mounted on Russia’s Dnepr launch vehicle and integrated with the upper stage, which will deploy the satellite to an altitude of about 600 kilometers above sea level. The launch time is set for Thursday at 1:10 p.m. local time, or 4:10 p.m. Korea time.