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South Korea ends satellite mission

Posted: 15 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:South Korea satellite? communications? Arirang 1?

South Korea has aborted the eight-year mission of its first multipurpose satellite, which controllers lost contact with last month, according to an Agence France-Presse report.

In a statement from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, the Arirang 1, launched in December 1999 to map Earth, will have its mission formally ended on January 31. The agency disclosed it had made repeated but unsuccessful uplink efforts since contact was lost on December 30.

The satellite is programmed to use an emergency power that is expected to last for only one month, before gradually descending to be burnt-up upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, the agency explained. The final analysis showed that the satellite was wrongly positioned and could not secure enough power from its solar panels.

Initially designed to operate for three years, Arirang 1 has outlived its life expectancy, producing 470,000 images of the Earth's surface, the agency said.

South Korea has launched three commercial communications satellites since 1995 and launched its first military communications satellite in 2006. In November 2007, South Korea announced a plan to launch a lunar orbiter by 2020 and send a probe to the moon five years after that.

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