The Korean government has started transporting Cheollian Satellite 2B, a complex geostationary orbit satellite, to an overseas launch site for its liftoff on Feb. 19.
Cheollian Satellite 2B has left the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and will be transported in a vibration-free constant-temperature and –humidity container specially manufactured by KARI, the Ministry of Science and ICT said on Jan. 5. After arriving at Incheon International Airport, it will be transported by air to the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana Kulu of South America. It will be launched on the Ariane-5 Projectile around 7:14 a.m. (Korea time) on Feb. 19.
After the launch, it will go through an orbit change process for about one month, and settle on a stationary track of 36,000 km in altitude. After several months of initial operations, the satellite will send marine environment information such as red tides and green algae beginning October this year and atmosphere environmental information such as fine dust starting 2021.
Cheollian Satellite 2B is a twin satellite of Cheollian Satellite 2A, which was launched in December 2018 for meteorological observations. It is loaded with the world's first geostationary environment payload and a marine payload which excels that of Cheollian Satellite No. 1 in terms of performance.
The environment payload GEMS is ultra-precision optical observation equipment that can observe 20 kinds of air pollutants in the atmosphere including fine dust, materials (nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde among others) that cause fine dust, and substances (ozone and aerosol) that trigger climate change. It will constantly monitor the occurrence and movement of fine dust over the Korean Peninsula and East Asia.
Cheollian Satellite 2B is the world's first geostationary satellite dedicated to monitoring the atmospheric environment. Korea is ahead of the United States and Europe which will launch their geostationary satellites after 2022 and 2023, respectively. Until now, atmospheric environment monitoring has been carried out by low-orbit satellites staying at altitudes of 700 km to 1,000 km due to the limitations of observation technology.
Cheollian Satellite 2B will contribute to the international community by providing information on the atmospheric environment of the covered regions, which include 13 countries in East Asia ranging from Japan to Indonesia and from Indonesia to southern Mongolia.
The marine payload GOCI-II which can observe the moves of red tides, green algae, and oil spills near the coast of the Korean Peninsula in real time is advanced marine observation equipment that can provide 26 kinds of information including red tides, floating algae, sea fogs, and sea ice in Korea's entire coastal and sea areas through greatly improved performance.