Arianespace has announced that it will launch THEOS-II, the very-high-resolution Earth observation optical satellite for Thailand, and KOMPSAT-7 for the Korean Aerspace Research Institute (KARI), in two separate launches on the new Arianespace Vega-C launch vehicle in 2021.
The THEOS-II launch agreement is part of a turnkey contract between Airbus Defence and Space and the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of Thailand (GISTDA).
THEOS-II is a very-high-resolution Earth observation optical satellite with a resolution of 0.5 metres, part of the next-generation national geo-information system provided by Airbus Defence and Space to support Thailand’s key development priorities. This end-to-end system will make Thailand one of the few nations in the world able to fully exploit geo-information for societal benefits.
KOMPSAT-7 is the follow-up model of KOMPSAT-3A whose mission is to provide high-resolution satellite images to satisfy South Korea’s governmental and institutional needs. Developed by KARI at its facility in Daejeon, South Korea, KOMPSAT-7 will weigh approximately 2,000 kg. at launch, and will be placed in a sun-synchronous orbit.
Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said of the THEOS-II launch agreement that, “We are delighted that Airbus Defense and Space has chosen the Vega system to orbit THEOS-II, an advanced observation satellite for the Kingdom of Thailand. Arianespace is proud to contribute to a strengthening of this country’s observation capabilities. THEOS-II joins the long list of satellites in our backlog built by our customer and partner Airbus Defence and Space, along with the VD-20 satellites, the first commercial contract signed for Vega-C last year. THEOS-II illustrates again the perfect adaptation of Vega and Vega C to the dynamic Earth observation market.”
Commenting on the KOMPSAT-7 launch agreement, Israël said, “We are delighted that KARI has chosen Arianespace and Vega C to launch KOMPSAT-7. At a time where we are preparing for the launch of GEO-KOMPSAT-2A and 2B for KARI, it means a lot when such a close partner confirms the relevance of our solutions towards the dynamic Earth observation market. By embarking this satellite expected to step up Korean Earth Observation capacities, European launchers will support an ambitious national space program and contribute to strengthening the strong bond between Europe and South Korea.”
The Vega-C launch vehicle will begin operations in 2019, alongside Arianespace’s heavy-lift Ariane-5, the medium-lift Soyuz, and the light-lift Vega launch vehicles – all operated from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. To meet the needs of an increasingly dynamic market segment for flight with small to medium-size satellites, Vega-C is designed to meet the growing demand for launch of small and medium-sized satellites.