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July 24, 2020

Customer Highlight: Korea Aerospace Industries’ Remote Sensing Satellite Program Utilizes AMI’s Fasteners for Critical Applications

In South Korea, an exciting private-public partnership is now underway between Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI) and Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). KAI is an esteemed aerospace company, one that’s built numerous aircraft and satellites. For its part, KARI is a government space agency. KARI has explored the moon, collected information from satellites, and designed various space-related technologies. These organizations have teamed up to engineer, build, and launch three satellites into orbit by the year 2025.

As a critical component supplier for the production of these remote-sensing satellites, we at AMI are doubly excited to follow their respective launches and mission profiles. This won’t be the first fastener of ours to end up in space – far from it – but we still get a fuzzy feeling knowing things we make are floating in low-Earth orbit.

What’s special about these satellites?

These satellites will have remote sensing capabilities. As such, they’ll warn officials of approaching natural disasters. They’ll also help government agencies manage resources and disaster relief efforts. Moreover, Earth scientists ought to learn a great deal from the data these satellites collect. The Korean National Research Foundation is financing these satellites, and they should cost about 180 billion won (or $156 million in U.S. currency). Established in 2009, the Korean National Research Foundation is financed by the South Korean government, and its researchers delve into a wide range of subjects pertaining to science and the arts.

These remote sensing satellites from KAI and KARI are part of a larger project, one that will entail the construction of five satellites. The other two satellites have already been designed and developed, and their construction is ongoing. According to KAI, two of the three KAI/KARI satellites will be completed by 2023, and the third will be ready for launch by 2025. Let’s now take a closer look at these three satellites and their unique functions and features.

The first satellite, which should go into space by 2023, will cost about 117 billion won (around $100 million). And it will boast an advanced electro-optical camera. This camera will be able to take pictures across a distance of 120 kilometers, and its images will be five-meter resolution. The Korea Forest Service and the South Korean Rural Development Administration will utilize this camera to observe ecosystems throughout the country. Plus, this satellite’s images will help those agencies manage and allocate their limited resources in more effective ways.

KAI and KARI will start building the second of their remote sensing satellites in 2021 at an approximate cost of 47 billion won ($40.5 million). Slated to be finished in 2023, this satellite will focus not on the Earth but on the stars. KAI and KARI haven’t yet released specific information about this satellite’s mission, but it will collect data that should prove valuable to astronomers and others who study space. The Korean Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV) II will launch it into orbit. By contrast, a domestic or a foreign launching company will send up the other two KAI/KARI satellites.

Finally, the third KAI/KARI remote sensing satellite will be another powerful tool for observing and examining our planet’s many diverse environments. To be built at a cost of about 143 billion won (approximately $123.4 million), this ultra-sophisticated satellite will contain a C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), one with a 10-meter resolution. A synthetic aperture radar can supply detailed two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of terrain. Its antennae move around, and the resulting pictures depict highly accurate spatial relationships. Once this satellite is launched, it will warn scientists and government officials whenever an environmental disaster is looming. And those alerts will come in as early as possible. Such crises could include floods, droughts, oil spills, other pollution-related catastrophes, and red tides. (A red tide is a vast growth of sea algae, and it can release toxic chemicals.) KAI and KARI will start building this satellite in 2022, and it should be ready for 2025.

As the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT has observed, these three remote sensing satellites should boost the proficiency and potential of the country’s private sector, its technology sector in particular. Not to mention, in the future, the nation will be better equipped to compete on the global stage when it comes to building satellites. On top of that, all three of these satellites will help the country conserve and administer its natural resources as efficiently as could be. Finally, they’ll likewise help South Korea reduce the negative effects of climate change by providing reams of environmental data and early disaster warnings. Yes, a few satellites can provide countless benefits.

 

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