(Courtesy of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration)
By Jung Da-min
South Korea's first military communications satellite ANASIS-II entered geostationary orbit 10 days after launch, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced Friday.
The ANASIS-II, launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket manufactured by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 21 (local time), reached the target orbit at an altitude of 3,600 kilometers at around 7:11 a.m. Friday, according to the arms procurement agency.
DAPA said the satellite's functions and operability would be tested in orbit by its manufacturer Airbus Defense and Space for about four weeks before the South Korean military finally takes over in October. The arms procurement agency also plans to conduct a final operability evaluation of the satellite, focusing on its compatibility with eight kinds of ground station terminals it has developed, including those that can be used on vehicles.
"The South Korean military will not only replace the old satellite system through securing its first independent communications satellite but will also establish a communication system whose survivability and security have been improved significantly through its improved transmission capacity and anti-jamming capabilities," DAPA said in a statement.
DAPA said the ANANSIS-II's frequency-hopping technology could offer the military a stable communication network even during anti-electronic warfare in which there is an electronic jamming threat from the enemy. It said the evasion performance of the ANASIS-II had also been enhanced considerably from the old system.
The satellite's communication transmission capacity has also been more than doubled, greatly improving the speed of information processing and thus providing broad communication networks across the Korean Peninsula and remote areas including where South Korean military troops are stationed, according to DAPA.
Through the successful launch of ANASIS-II, South Korea has become the 10th country to have a dedicated military communications satellite. But military watchers said South Korea's space military power is still behind the U.S., China, Russia and Japan among others.
As an effort to strengthen its military power in space, South Korea is promoting a three-stage space development program dubbed "Space Odyssey," which aims to build satellite and surveillance systems and deterrence power by 2050, to protect the military's space forces.
South Korea is also seeking to develop solid-propellant boosters for its space rockets, after Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday that it struck a deal on new missile guidelines with the United States, which lifted a decades-long restriction on South Korea's use of solid fuels for its space launch vehicles.
Announcing the lift of the ban, Kim Hyun-chong, the second deputy director of the National Security Office, said it would help advance the Korean military's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities because the country would be able to launch low-Earth orbit military spy satellites, flying at altitudes of 500 kilometers to 2,000 kilometers, with no restrictions on time and place, which would place the entire Korean Peninsula under around-the-clock military surveillance.