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Korean midsized satellite launched into space

A South Korean mid-sized observation satellite prepares for takeoff at the Russian-run Vostochny Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan on Monday. (Roscosmos-Yonhap)
A South Korean mid-sized observation satellite prepares for takeoff at the Russian-run Vostochny Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan on Monday. (Roscosmos-Yonhap)

A South Korean midsized observation satellite was successfully launched into space Monday, the Korean government announced.

The Ministry of Science and ICT in Seoul said the 540-kilogram satellite, loaded on Russia’s Soyuz-2.1a rocket, lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, around 50 days after the satellite arrived at the launch site.

The ICT Ministry added that the ground station made its first contact with the satellite 102 minutes after the launch and also confirmed that the satellite appeared to be safely on its way to orbit.

Equipped with an imaging sensor system developed by Korean researchers, the satellite would provide observation videos of the Earth starting in October after a six-month trial run. The satellite is to conduct its observation mission for the next four years 497.8 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

The midsized satellite is the first of a new model, CAS500, developed as part of the Korean government’s plan to nurture the local space industry.

Local entities, including the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Korea Aerospace Industries, Hanwha Systems, Dacc Aerospace and Genohco, have joined forces on the development project. The government has set aside a total of 157.9 billion won ($139.7 million) for the project since 2015.

The launch was originally planned for Saturday, but was postponed due to a problem with the rocket that was supposed to carry the satellite.

The ICT Ministry said it was told by the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos that an issue in a control system, located in the Fregat upper stage of the Soyuz rocket, was found during a last-minute checkup.

(ws@heraldcorp.com)

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