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Successful Launch of Korea's First Mass-Produced Nanosatellite Confirmed


- Periodic imaging of the Korean Peninsula and areas of interest from approximately 500 km above Earth will commence from November 2024.
- Following the subsequent launch of 10 satellites, a total of 11 satellites will start earth observation in a constellation from 2027.

The Ministry of Science and ICT (Minister Lee Jong Ho, hereinafter referred to as 'MSIT') announced the successful launch of the nation's first nanosatellite, 'NEONSAT-1,’ from a spaceport in Mahia, New Zealand on April 24, 2024, at 07:32 AM KST (10:32 AM local time).

Four hours and 25 minutes post-launch, at 11:57 AM KST, the Daejeon ground station of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute confirmed after receiving and analyzing satellite data that the solar panels were successfully deployed, providing stable power, and the overall condition of the satellite was satisfactory. Further communication at 14:13 and 15:44 with the Antarctic King Sejong Station verified that bidirectional communication was normal, confirming the success of the launch. NEONSAT-1 will now commence preliminary operations, including various function checks.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology ('KAIST') will assess the satellite and its optical payload's performance in the designated orbit (about 500 km above Earth) for one month and monitor the quality of observation images for five months. After these checks, NEONSAT-1 is slated to begin its Earth observation mission in November 2024.

Developed under the New-space Earth Observation SATellite constellation for national safety (NEONSAT) project initiated in 2020 by KAIST with support from MSIT and the National Intelligence Service, this nanosatellite is designed for high-frequency, precise monitoring of the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding maritime areas and for rapid response to national security events and disasters. In this project led by KAIST, the collaborative development included KAIST and Satrec Initiative for the satellite system, with the ground system as well as calibration/validation and application systems developed by the Aerospace Research Institute in partnership with multiple domestic aerospace companies.

NEONSAT-1 employed commercial off-the-shelf components to ensure cost-effectiveness, light weight, and low power consumption, making it suitable for economical mass production in the era of private space endeavors. The nanosatellite is designed to provide black and white optical images at 1m resolution and color images at 4m resolution for over three years at approximately 500 km altitude.

With the successful launch of NEONSAT-1, plans are in place to launch five additional satellites in both 2026 and 2027 using the Korean rocket Nuri. By the second half of 2027, when all 11 satellites are operational in a constellation, the capability to perform more than three daily observations of the Korean Peninsula will significantly enhance the current capabilities of medium to large Earth observation satellites.

1st Vice Minister Lee Chang Yune of MSIT stated, "The successful launch of NEONSAT-1 is a testament to the concerted efforts of academia, industry, and research institutes throughout its development, production, and launch stages." He added, "We aim to develop subsequent satellites seamlessly, in alignment with the new space era, and to continuously strengthen Korea's space technology competitiveness and foster the space industry."

Yoon Oh-joon, the 3rd Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Service, noted, "As the scope of national security extends into space, this satellite development serves as a catalyst for expanding collaboration with the private sector to enhance crucial technological capabilities that form the foundation of national space security and contribute to the advancement of the domestic space industry."

For further information, please contact the Public Relations Division (Phone: +82-44-202-4034, E-mail: of the Ministry of Science and ICT. 

Please refer to the attached PDF.
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