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South Korea to Sell KOMPSAT Imagery to India and the Philippines

An artist’s impression of KOMPSAT-5. Image courtesy of the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

The government of South Korea has approved the sale of high-resolution satellite imagery taken by Korean high-resolution Earth observation satellites. The Satrec Initiative, a local provider for earth observation, will sell the imagery, and it has already signed export deals with India and the Philippines.

This approval was announced last week by the South Korean Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ministry. This is the first time that the country has reached a deal to directly transmit image data taken by South Korea’s indigenous low-orbit observation satellites

Under the agreement with the Philippines, two satellites, The Korea Multipurpose Satellite -3 (KOMPSAT-3), known as the ARIRANG-3, and the KOMPSAT-5, known as the ARIRANG-5, will transmit radar images and pictures to the Philippines for one year. This deal is worth U.S.$1.9 million. The Philippines previously imported satellite image reception antennae and a reception processing system from Korea in 2015. This equipment will enable the Philippines to directly receive images from the satellite. This is the first time Korea has signed an export deal for direct reception of imagery from KOMPSAT-3 and KOMPSAT-5.

Under a separate agreement with India, images taken of India by ARIRANG-3A and ARIRANG-3 will be provided for a period of two years for U.S.$4 million, officials said. These satellite images will not be transmitted directly; instead, the images will be received by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and sent from there to India.

ARIRANG-3 and ARIRANG-3A were launched in May 2012 and March 2015, respectively. The ARIRANG-5 — equipped with synthetic aperture radar that provides images of one meter resolution was launched in August 2013. All were built by KARI, which oversees Korea’s space programme.

An unnamed official from the Korean science agency told Pulse by Maeil “… [These] latest deals with not only the Philippines, but also a major space power, India, acknowledges Korea’s excellent satellite technology.”

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