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Korea’s new satellite makes contact with ground control

YASNY, Russia ― South Korea’s new scientific satellite has made its first contact with a ground control station in Daejeon, beginning a two-year mission to search for clues about the evolution of the universe.

The Satellite Technology Research Center at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon received the first communication contact with the Science and Technology Satellite-3, or STSAT-3, at 10:10 p.m. Korea time on Thursday, the center said.

“We had received signals for approximately 10 minutes from the satellite, and verified that everything was normal,” Lee In, director of the Satellite Technology Research Center, told The Korea Herald at the Yasny launch base.

The signal proves that space observation satellite is operating normally, and will be ready to begin its mission after a three-month trial running, according to the director.

The satellite blasted off at 1:10 p.m. (4:10 p.m. Korea time) aboard a Dnepr launch vehicle from the Yasny launch base in southern Russia near the border with Kazakhstan.

The three-stage, liquid-fueled Russian launcher sent the 170-kilogram satellite into orbit approximately 600 kilometers above sea level.

The STSAT-3 is Korea’s first satellite that will study the relic radiation from the Big Bang. Its main missions are: astronomical observation, galaxy imaging, and relic infrared imaging for scientific and environmental research.

The STSAT-3 is equipped with infrared light captors that can tease out the faintest relic radiation from the cosmic microwave background that could provide clues about the evolution of the universe.

By Oh Kyu-wook, Korea Herald correspondent