The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced that the Chollian communication ocean meteorological satellite (COMS) blasted off from the French Guiana on an Ariane 5-ECA rocket at 6:41 a.m., June 27. The satellite was initially supposed to be launched on June 24, however, minor technical problems delayed the launch.
Following its successful launch, COMS established its initial contact with Dongara Ground Station in Australia at 7:19 a.m. of the launch day. The contact indicates the satellite is on the right path for its geostationary orbit which circles the equator at 128.2 east longitude. A series of tests will be conducted over the next six months while the COMS is in the orbit. The satellite will offer 24 hour communications services and observe the weather and ocean surroundings of Korea for seven years starting December.
The successful launch means that Korea is now the 10th country to put a satellite into space. Furthermore, it also makes Korea only the seventh country to operate an independent weather satellite.
Previously, Korea used other countries’ satellites to gather weather information every 30 minutes. However, with the Chollian COMS, Korea is now able to gather weather information every 15 minutes, increasing this to eight minutes in emergency situations such as typhoons. Due to its more accurate information feature, the satellite will strengthen Korea’s weather surveillance system, allowing the nation to better prepare from unusual weather phenomenon. Another significant issue is that the satellite itself was made independently using domestic technology.
From the initial design plan of the satellite to the final series of operational tests, the Chollian was made through cooperation between ETRI (Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute) and six other business industries.
Operating a satellite requires high level technology, therefore, as soon as the communications operating system is confirmed, Korea expects to annually export 130 billion won worth of communication system technologies overseas. In addition, Korea is able secure a broadband frequency resource with Chollian COMS. In particular, it provides the opportunity to dominate the Ka frequency(20GHz_30GHz) in advance which the competition is expected to heat up. The Ka Frequency is a broadband frequency which provides service to UHDTV (Ultra High Definition Television) also known as the Super Hi-Vision. Korea expects to export satellite communications related products such as STB (set-top box) satellite television receiver and VSAT (very small aperture terminal) satellite communication devices.
Furthermore, the Korean Multi-purpose Satellite-5 (KOMPSAT-5) is expected to be launched from Kazakhastan by the end of this year. This is another crucial launch, and one which will feature Korea’s first satellite to be equipped with SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) capability. This satellite will fulfill the demand for SAR image information.