6 September 2006 – Korea’s KOMPSAT-2 Earth observation satellite, launched 28 July, has returned its first images from orbit 685 kilometres above the planet. In-orbit commissioning and operational qualification are proceeding according to plan, paving the way for commercial sales of very-high-resolution (VHR) imagery in a few months’ time. Spot Image is the exclusive distributor of KOMPSAT-2 data for the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) outside Korea, the United States and the Middle East.
KARI developed the KOMPSAT-2 programme in close collaboration with EADS Astrium, in particular to acquire VHR imagery for South Korea’s needs in mapping, urban planning and hazard management. KOMPSAT-2 is a VHR optical imaging satellite (1-m resolution in black and white, 4 m in colour) capable of acquiring up to 7,500 images with a ground footprint of 15 km x 15 km every day—equivalent to 1.7 million square kilometers a day. These features and imaging capacity, ideal for detecting and identifying ground features, make KOMPSAT-2 a key asset for mapping at scales of 1:5 000 to 1:2 000.
As prime contractor in charge of Korea’s satellite programmes, KARI is pursuing an ambitious space plan: following the KITSAT series of microsatellites (1 to 4) and the KOMPSAT-1 and KOMPSAT-2 Earth observation satellites, it is now pursuing its programme with the development of KOMPSAT-3 and KOMPSAT-5, as well as COMS-1, a communications, meteorology and oceanography satellite. KARI has plans for 10 more satellites in the pipeline for the coming decade.
Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Spot Image is a provider of multisource (optical and radar) and multiresolution (1 m to 1 km) data. As well as satellite imagery, Spot Image supplies data reception facilities with agreements covering reception of telemetry from a range of satellites, and provides products, services and equipment for managing geoinformation-based projects.