Mugunghwa-5A [Photo by Ministry of Science Technology and Information Communications]
South Korea successfully launched its fifth telecommunications satellite Mugunghwa-5A at 3:34 p.m. on Monday (local time) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the U.S., the Ministry of Science Technology and Information Communications and the country’s sole satellite operator KT SAT announced on Tuesday.
Following the new launch, the country now has five geostationary satellites in space including Mugunghwa-5, 6, 7 and Chollian. Mugunghwa-5A is the second satellite sent into orbit this year following the launch of Mugunghwa-7 in May.
A geostationary satellite is used mainly for broadcasting and telecommunication services as it is placed at an altitude of 35,786 kilometers (22,236 miles) and travels in the same direction as the earth’s rotation. It takes 24 hours for one orbit, the same amount of time with the earth’s single rotation.
Mugunghwa-5A to be positioned at 113 degrees east will replace Mugunghwa-5 that ends its mission in 2021. It is designed to provide telecommunication services not only to Korea but also to Japan and part of the Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
Mugunghwa-5A is the first Korean satellite that was launched by Space X, an American aerospace company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. French satellite manufacturing company Thales Alenia Space designed and manufactured the satellite, while the Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) built its navigation system.
By Kim Gyu-sik and Choi Mira
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