Korea launches first nanosatellite in New Zealand

By HYUN-YI LEE Posted : April 24, 2024, 14:13 Updated : April 26, 2024, 09:42
This image captured from Rocket Labs YouTube livestream on April 24 2024 shows Koreas nanosatellite being lifted off from a spaceport in Mahia New Zealand Yonhap
This image, captured from Rocket Lab's YouTube livestream on April 24, 2024, shows Korea's nanosatellite being lifted off from a spaceport in Mahia, New Zealand. Yonhap

SEOUL, April 24 (AJU PRESS) - Korea's first ultra-small cluster satellite was launched into orbit in New Zealand, the Ministry of Science and ICT said Wednesday.

Dubbed "NEONSAT-1," the nanosatellite lifted off from a spaceport in Mahia around 8:30 a.m. About 50 minutes after launch, the satellite was successfully separated from American aerospace company Rocket Lab's two-stage Electron rocket.

The satellite made initial contact with the ground station at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in Daejeon here around 11:50 a.m., after orbiting the Earth. The science ministry confirmed the success of the launch as the satellite entered the orbit.

Developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) as part of Korea's ambitious project for satellite constellation, the satellite, which weighs less than 100 kilograms and carries a high-resolution camera, will circumnavigate the Earth for about three years, while conducting missions to monitor and take images of the Korean Peninsula and surrounding regions. Optical images transmitted by the satellite will be used to respond to any security situations and natural disasters in the peninsula.

The ministry plans to launch five more nanosatellites into space in 2026 and another five in 2027, forming a satellite cluster with a total of 11 such microsatellites in operation. The launch project was named B.T.S., reminiscent of K-pop boy band Bangtan Boys, but it is short for "The Beginning Of the Swarm," by the launch service provider Rocket Lab.
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