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S. Korea's indigenous weather satellite launched

All Headlines 05:46 December 05, 2018

By Kim Han-joo and Joint Press Corps

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's indigenous geostationary weather satellite Chollian-2A -- which will greatly enhance the country's weather monitoring system -- has been launched, the government here said Wednesday.

The multipurpose satellite, also known as GEO-KOMPSAT-2A, lifted off aboard a launch vehicle made by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center at Kourou in French Guiana at 5:37 a.m., according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The satellite, developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), is one of two follow-up satellites to Chollian-1, the country's first geostationary satellite, launched in June 2010.

The ministry said the satellite will make the first contact with ground station in about 40 minutes after the launch.

"The Chollian-2A is meaningful as it was wholly developed by South Korea from design to testing, while past geostationary satellites have all been built in cooperation with foreign countries," said Choi Jae-dong, a KARI official in charge of the satellite's development.

The Chollian-2A will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers and will run test operations for six months before providing a weather information service, officials said.

While the first Chollian was designed for oceanography and meteorological observation and may fall short in terms of the quality of the images it sends back compared with newer satellites, the Chollian-2A can provide images with much higher resolution and is built with a greatly faster download speed, the ICT ministry said.

The ministry forecasts the new satellite will be able to gather weather images related to fine dust particles that are four times clearer than its predecessor, as well as collecting other information. The satellite will also deliver the data 18 times faster.

The Chollian-2A contains a state-of-the-art meteorological imaging system that is as advanced as other foreign geostationary satellites such as GOES-17 of the United States and Japan's Himawari 9.

The ministry, meanwhile, said Chollian-2B is scheduled to be launched next year at the same site. Its mission will be to monitor the oceans and atmosphere surrounding the Korean Peninsula.

The multipurpose satellite Chollian-2A, or GEO-KOMPSAT-2A, awaits liftoff aboard an Arianespace launch vehicle on the launch pad of the Guiana Space Center at Kourou in French Guiana on Dec. 4, 2018. (Yonhap) (Joint Press Corps)

khj@yna.co.kr
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