After eight years of operation, South Korea
lost communication (on the last day of 2007) with its first space satellite;
Arirang-1. Or, as it was commonly described, Arirang-1 had disappeared. This
bird was only expected to last three
years, but until the commo malfunction, it continued to perform. Its cameras
only have a 6.5 meter resolution (the latest U.S. spy sats are a thousand times
more detailed). In 2006, a second satellite, Arirang-2, was launched, and it
had a resolution of one meter. Arirang-1 circles the globe about 14 times a day
at an altitude of 685 kilometers. Most likely, Arirang-1 just got old and died,
probably from a power system failure. It will probably be declared lost, if
communications cannot be restored soon.
South Korea teamed with Israeli firms
to develop the cameras for the Arirang series of satellites. South Korea plans
to launch a dozen or more additional satellites up in the next two years. South
Korea uses Russian launchers to put its satellites into orbit.