The Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute announced that they would have a meeting on September 7 for the development of South Korea’s seventh multi-purpose satellite at a total investment of 310 billion won. Scheduled to be launched in 2021, the high-resolution optical satellite is to be used for purposes such as disaster monitoring, environmental monitoring, national security and climate change analysis.
The seventh satellite is a successor to Korea Multi-purpose Satellite-3A (KOMPSAT-3A), which was launched in March last year. KOMPSAT-3A has a resolution of 0.55 m and the seventh satellite is to be equipped with a high-resolution optical camera with a resolution of 0.3 m or less, an infrared camera, etc. The latter is capable of detecting small cars, trucks and the like and its detection performance is approximately 3.4 times better than that of KOMPSAT-3A.
These days, a number of countries are working on better satellites in order to increase the sale of super-high resolution satellite images. They are currently selling such images by using their satellites with a resolution of 0.5 m or so but the United States is the only country in possession of an imaging satellite with a resolution of 0.3 m. It was launched in August 2014 and the U.S. is currently developing one with a resolution of 0.25 m.
The European Union, in the meantime, is planning to launch a 0.3 m-resolution satellite in 2017. Japan is to launch a 0.25 m-resolution satellite in 2021, too. China has some satellites but has refused to disclose relevant information. Apart from satellites for research purposes, the seventh satellite is likely to be South Korea’s first independently developed multi-purpose satellite.