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S. Korea's KOMSAT-5 satellite makes first contact with ground station

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

YASNY, Russia, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new multipurpose satellite sent beacon signals to a ground station in Antarctica after its launch from Yasny, Russia on Thursday, indicating that the satellite successfully reached its target altitude and orbit, officials here said.

The Korea Multipurpose Satellite-5 (KOMSAT-5) was launched at 8:39 p.m. (11:39 p.m. Korean time) from Russia's Yasny launch base, located some 1,800 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

"The launch vehicle successfully deployed the satellite at approximately 15 minutes after its launch from the Yasny launch base," Lee Sang-ryool, an official from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in charge of the KOMSAT-5 program, told reporters earlier.

"Troll Satellite Station in Antarctica received beacon signals from KOMSAT-5 32 minutes after its launch," Lee said.

Beacon signals from the satellite will again be picked up by the Svalbard Satellite Station in Norway at around 10:06 p.m., further indicating the successful deployment of the satellite into its target orbit, according to KARI officials.

Whether the satellite was successfully deployed and is functioning properly will be verified later when the satellite makes a radio contact with South Korea's ground station in Daejeon at 2:35 a.m. Friday, or five hours and 56 minutes after the launch, they said.

The satellite, also known as the Arirang 5, was sent into space using Russia's Dnepr, a space launch vehicle converted from Russia's Soviet-era intercontinental ballistic missile.

KOMSAT-5 is South Korea's fourth multipurpose satellite, but it is the first with synthetic aperture radar with a 1-meter resolution, which will allow observation of the Earth's surface, especially the Korean Peninsula, regardless of weather conditions.

It will circle the Earth 15 times a day in the sun-synchronous orbit, or dawn-to-dusk orbit, for the next five years.

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