News / Asia

Japan Launches South Korean Satellite Into Orbit

An H-2A rocket carrying four satellites including one from South Korea blasts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the Japanese southwestern island of Tanegashima, May 18, 2012
An H-2A rocket carrying four satellites including one from South Korea blasts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the Japanese southwestern island of Tanegashima, May 18, 2012
SEOUL - Early Friday, Japan successfully launched a South Korean satellite. The historical accomplishment puts the Japanese in the same arena as European and Russian entities in the lucrative commercial space launch business.

 The roar of the H-2A launch vehicle shattered the early morning silence On the southern Japanese island of Tanegashima.  The space center was illuminated as the liquid-fueled 57-meter high two-stage rocket rose off the pad with four satellites on board.

Sixteen minutes after launch, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced the first payload had successfully separated.

The Arirang-3 satellite (also known as KOMPSAT-3) was then placed into orbit. The Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) says it is functioning normally.

Also deployed Friday from the H-2A rocket was a satellite with the world's largest revolving antenna. The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) is able to measure water temperature from the sea surface with an accuracy of 0.5 degrees Celsius.

Scientists say the Japanese satellite, nick-named “Shizuku,” will play an important role in monitoring global water circulation and climate change.

Capturing the most attention internationally, however, is the
cooperation between Japan and South Korea in space exploration.

Japan not only demonstrated its 15th consecutive successful launch of its main large-scale indigenous rocket (built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), it also collected tens of millions of dollars from a foreign customer, offering a lower bid than Russia to launch the South Korean satellite.

Japan thus achieves its long-time goal of joining the elite and
highly lucrative - but risky - commercial space launch business.

South Korea has now demonstrated it can develop and assemble state-of-the-art, lightweight, multi-use earth observation satellites.

Arirang-3 carries a high-resolution optical imager purchased from
Astrium, a subsidiary of Europe's leading space company.  From an altitude of nearly 700 kilometers, it can capture objects on the ground less than one meter in length.

Kang Kyung-in, the principal researcher at South Korea's KAIST Satellite Technology Research Center, says Arirang-3 will be able to monitor nearly any spot on Earth.

Kang says the remote sensing satellite is not intended to exclusively monitor any particular country (namely North Korea), nor is it exclusively for government use. He expects that some of the data may also be utilized by businesses amid an increasing demand for such high-resolution images.

Analysts, however, point out that, in essence, South Korea now likely has its most sophisticated indigenous device to monitor rival North Korea for military and intelligence purposes. Until now, South Korea has had to rely on its lower resolution satellites or images delivered by its ally, the United States, or other friendly countries with the best resolution space cameras.

The joint Japanese-South Korean event comes just a month after North Korea failed in its third attempt to place into orbit what it said was an earth observation satellite.

Researcher Kang says North Korea's technology is at least 20 years behind the South's and Pyongyang's motives are suspect.

Kang says the April 13th North Korean launch attempt probably was not primarily to deploy a peaceful satellite, as declared, but rather to test its rocket technology which could be utilized to launch multi-stage missiles.

Envoys from South Korea, Japan and the United States are to meet in Seoul Monday to discuss the failed North Korean launch amid concerns the reclusive and impoverished country may also be preparing an attempted third nuclear test.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid