In order to realize more elaborate next generation spatial information services, a satellite created exclusively for spatial information will be launched in 2019. This will enable more precise mapping of the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea, as well as faster responses to disasters.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and National Commission on Space of Korea, the launch of the first spatial information satellite has been delayed a year from 2018 to 2019.
Currently, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has limits on its ability to utilize spatial information in various fields, as satellite images must be collected from other ministries or private companies. Accordingly, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport made launch plans for spatial information satellites and started preliminary feasibility studies to launch the first one in 2018 and the second one in 2019.
After the preliminary feasibility study review, two satellites of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and one medium-sized satellite out of eight that the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning prepared for its next-generation medium-sized satellite launch plans passed the tests. The importance of exclusive satellite launch plans for the spatial information business advancement of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport was acknowledged, and crucial barriers to secure a budget and promote businesses have been passed. The first satellite of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport which passed the preliminary feasibility study is the test satellite for Korea to explore the moon.
An infrared camera that will be installed in the satellite has a resolution of 50cm. This camera could capture aerophoto-quality images, as satellite photos are possible even in cloudy weather. This will greatly contribute to building a spatial information system including a 3D map, and the revitalization of related industries starting from private companies, public organizations, and local governments.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will develop business models by sharing various images earned through the exclusive satellite launch with private companies, and construct a quick response system for natural disasters such as landslides and floods. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is currently working on research for outsourcing of a “satellite technology center” related to exclusive satellite usage.
Choi Myung-hee, a commissioner at the National and Presidential Commission on Space of Korea and a Professor of Convergence and Fusion System Department Engineering at Kyungpook National University said, “Whether to launch the first satellite only in 2019 or the second one as well is not confirmed yet. Since Korea does not have its own launch vehicle, the satellites will be probably launched through foreign launch vehicles.”
Park Moo-ik, director general for National Spatial Data Infrastructure Policy, said, “We will upgrade the industry ecosystem through a spatial information exclusive satellite launch, and we will give our best efforts to make Korea one of the most advanced countries in the spatial information businesses.”