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S. Korean satellite launched from U.S. airbase

All Headlines 04:17 December 04, 2018

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- A small South Korean satellite designed to carry out space observation was successfully launched from an Air Force base in the United States on Monday.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at around 10:34 a.m. (local time), carrying 64 satellites, including the Next Sat-1.

The 107-kilogram satellite, developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from 2012-2018, will reach an orbital altitude of 575 kilometers and measure space radiation and observe stars' infrared rays for the next two years.

The Ministry of Science and KAIST will announce the detailed outcome of the deployment of the Next Sat-1 around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday (Seoul time).

The launch was first delayed when American rocket company SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, extended an inspection of its two-stage rocket, the Falcon 9. The launch was further pushed back multiple times due to various weather conditions.

It is a groundbreaking launch for SpaceX in numerous ways as not only is this the first time the company has reused the rocket for a third time but it is the biggest batch of spacecraft that has ever taken off on a single launch from U.S. soil.

The Falcon 9 safely reentered the atmosphere and landed after about eight minutes of flight.

Until now, practically all orbital rockets were disposable, meaning the rockets were discarded after launch. SpaceX has been reused twice.

The rocket's payload included 15 microsatellites and 49 CubeSats from both commercial and government entities, including 25 from international organizations.

At present, South Korea operates four satellites for weather and Earth observation.

This photo provided by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) on Nov. 11, 2018, shows a small satellite that was launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr
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