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S. Korea to launch Arirang 5 satellite this week

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

MOSCOW, Aug. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will this week launch its first multipurpose satellite with a synthetic aperture radar that will enable the country to observe the earth's surface at any time, regardless of weather or other conditions, officials here said Tuesday.

The Arirang 5 satellite is set to blast off at 8:39 p.m. (11:39 p.m. KST) on Thursday from Russia's Yasny launch site, located some 1,800 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

The 1,315-kilogram satellite will be sent into space using Russia's space launch vehicle, the Dnepr. Once deployed, the satellite will orbit the earth at an average altitude of 550 kilometers for the next five years, according to officials from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

"High-resolution radar images from the multipurpose Arirang 5 satellite will make valuable contributions in various areas, such as ocean management, disaster and land monitoring," a KARI official said.

The Arirang 5 satellite was originally set to be launched two years ago, but its launch had been delayed due to what KARI earlier called problems at the Russian launch site.

South Korea is currently working to build its own space rocket for launch in 2019, following the successful launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) in January. The KSLV-1, built jointly with Russia, was the first rocket to be launched from South Korea.

South Korea currently operates seven satellites, including three commercial satellites. It is set to launch another multipurpose satellite, the Arirang 3A, in late 2014, according to KARI.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/130819/s-korea-launch-arirang-5-satellite-week