Astrium To Build Ocean-color Imager for S Korea’s GEO-Kompsat 2B Satellite

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PARIS — Astrium Satellites of France will provide an ocean-color imager for South Korea’s geostationary-orbiting GEO-Kompsat 2B satellite under a contract Astrium announced July 24.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Astrium said that under the contract, six South Korean engineers will assist in the development of the instrument, called the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager, at Astrium’s Toulouse facility. The contract also stipulates that Astrium provide work to Korean companies in an amount equivalent to 5 percent of the contract’s value.

Astrium provided an earlier-generation version of the same instrument for South Korea’s COMS, or Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite, which was launched in 2010. Astrium was also prime contractor for the COMS program.

COMS is scheduled to be taken out of service in 2017. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute has said it plans to launch the GEO-Kompsat 2A in 2017 to provide uninterrupted meteorological coverage. GEO-Kompsat 2B had been scheduled for launch in 2018 but the launch is now expected in 2019, Astrium said.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies of Boulder, Colo., in May announced it is providing the Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer for GEO-Kompsat 2B.

The Astrium-built ocean-color imager will provide data on chlorophyll levels, plankton species and algae concentrations.

South Korean has one of the world’s most developed Earth observation programs. 

In addition to its geostationary-orbiting satellites, the nation has developed the Kompsat series of low-orbiting optical spacecraft and the future synthetic aperture radar Kompsat-5/Arirang-5.

After being held in storage for over a year waiting for Russian-Ukrainian launcher-related disputes to be resolved, Kompsat-5/Arirang-5 is now scheduled for launch aboard a Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr converted missiles on Aug. 22 from Russia’s Yasny spaceport. It is equipped with a 1-meter-resolution radar imager provided by Thales Alenia Space Italy.