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Multipurpose Satellite Arirang 2 Blasts Off Updated: 2006-07-28 12:00:00 KST

Multipurpose Satellite Arirang 2 Blasts Off
A multipurpose satellite developed with Korean technology was blasted off into space from a launch pad in Russia on this Friday.
Called the Arirang 2, the satellite is equipped with a high-resolution camera that can track objects like cars from 700 kilometers above Earth.
Park Jong-hong reports.

It was a clear liftoff for the Arirang 2 at 4:05 p.m. Korean Standard Time from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, located about 800 kilometers northeast of Moscow.
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute says it hopes the successful launch will establish Korea as a world leader in space technology.

KIM GYU-SUN, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF KOREA AEROSPACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: "This is a triumph especially for Korea. It was only in 1994 that we began developing multipurpose satellites. Now we can prove to the world that we have the independent technology to do this."

The key feature of the Arirang 2 is its state-of-the-art camera that only four other countries have.
The camera can take photos 36 times sharper than those taken by the Arirang 1, which went into orbit in 1999.
But the Arirang 2 won't be sending the pictures right away.

KIM GYU-SUN, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF KOREA AEROSPACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: "It'll take about two months to completely check the satellite's functions and the high-resolution camera, and make repairs if necessary. Then the satellite will be fully operational and send pictures to earth."

The 800 kilogram satellite will circle the earth 14-and-a-half times a day from a low orbit of just under 700 kilometers above the earth's surface.
In 1992, Korea became the 22nd country to have a commercial satellite.
In addition to the Arirang 2, the nation has four other satellites in orbit for telecommunication and broadcasting.

Park Jong-hong, Arirang News.
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