S. Korea's KOMSAT-5 satellite successfully lifts off

YASNY, Russia, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new multipurpose satellite was launched successfully from a launch base in Yasny, Russia, on Thursday, officials said.

"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), told reporters.

The Korea Multipurpose Satellite-5 (KOMSAT-5) was launched, as scheduled, at 8:39 p.m. (11:39 p.m. KST) from the Russian launch site in Yasny, located some 1,800 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

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.

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, according to officials from KARI.

The KOMSAT-5 will soon begin sending beacon signals, which will indicate the satellite's successful deployment into its target orbit.

The beacon signals are expected to be first detected by the Troll Satellite Station in Antarctica at 32 minutes after the satellite's launch, and then by the Svalbard Satellite Station in Norway at one hour and 27 minutes following the launch.

The satellite is scheduled to make its first contact with South Korea's own ground station at 5 hours and 56 minutes after its launch or at 2:35 a.m. (5:35 a.m. KST) Friday.

KOMSAT-5 is South Korea's fourth multipurpose satellite, but the first with synthetic aperture radar with a 1-meter resolution that 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 a sun synchronous or dawn-dusk orbit for the next five years.

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