Geo-Kompsat 2B KARI
South Korea's Geo-Kompsat 2B. Credit: KARI

WASHINGTON — The Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) that Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is building for South Korea’s multipurpose Earth-observing Geo-Kompsat 2B satellite passed its critical design review in February, the Boulder, Colorado, company announced April 1.

Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS)
Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) sensor. Credit: Ball Aerospace

Ball is building the sensor under contract to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. The company has not disclosed the value of the contract. GEMS is similar to the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution sensor the company is building for NASA for about $90 million.

GEMS, which makes observations in the ultraviolet and visible portions of the spectrum, will monitor pollution around the Korean peninsula and Asia-Pacific region.

In a prepared statement, Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager of Ball’s Operational Space business unit, said the review “allows the program to move into the manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing phase with instrument completion expected in early 2017.”

An English-language Korea Aerospace Research Institute website did not list a launch date for Geo-Kompsat 2B, which is being designed for a 10-year mission.


Dan Leone is a SpaceNews staff writer, covering NASA, NOAA and a growing number of entrepreneurial space companies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in public communications from the American University in Washington.