S. Korea's new science satellite to be launched Thursday

SEJONG, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new science satellite will be launched this week from a launch site in Russia, the science ministry said Wednesday.

The Science and Technology Satellite 3 (STSAT-3) will be launched at 4:10 p.m. (KST) on Thursday from Russia's Yasny Launch Base, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

The satellite arrived at the Russian launch site on Oct. 24.

As the country's sixth indigenous satellite, the STSAT-3 is equipped with an infrared radar that can detect changes in temperatures on the earth's surface and underground, enabling the country to monitor subterranean activities such as volcanoes and earthquakes.

"No problem has been detected in either the launch vehicle or satellite," an official from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said about the outcome of a final launch rehearsal that took place Tuesday at the Russian launch site.

The satellite will be launched using Russia's Dnepr, a ballistic missile-turned space launch vehicle.

Together with the Korea Multipurpose Satellite-5 (KOMPSAT-5), the country's first satellite with a synthetic aperture radar that was launched also from the Yasny base on Aug. 22, the STSAT-3 will allow the country to forecast any geological events, such as earthquakes, while also enabling the detection of any environmental or physical changes on the Korean Peninsula and in its surrounding seas.

A synthetic aperture radar is an advanced form of side-looking airborne radar that uses radio waves to detect changes in a target area, enabling 24-hour surveillance of the earth's surface regardless of weather conditions.

Following its successful launch, the STSAT-3 will orbit the earth every 97 minutes at an altitude of 600 kilometers for the next two years, according to KARI.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>