South Korea's leading software developer, Hancom Group, has reportedly launched the country’s first private Earth observation satellite into the orbit.
As per the company, the satellite, named Sejong-1, charted SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket to carry itself to its destination. The rocket took off from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida at 2:35 pm, local time, on Wednesday.
An official at Hancom confirmed that the satellite entered its target orbit and successfully made contact with the ground control approximately eight hours after the liftoff.
According to reports, Sejong-1 is a 10.8 kg low-orbital satellite, will revolve around the Earth approximately 12 to 14 times a day in an orbit 500 kilometers above the ground. The satellite was built by Hanscom under a partnership with Spire Global, a US-based space data company.
The company official stated that before the satellite begins its mission to collect image data for Earth observation, it will undergo a month of testing.
The satellite will first focus on areas in Asia as well as the Middle East, where there is a high satellite image data demand from agricultural countries and areas of conflict, with plans to extend its services in other areas at a later date.
Through Sejong-1, Hancom is planning to establish the world's first video data service belt that can cover aviation, space, and ground using drones, satellites, as well as ultra-high-resolution sensors.
According to the group, the company plans to launch four more satellites into the orbit by 2024. Sejong-2 will launch at the start of next year. Meanwhile, over the next five years, the company plans to have 50 or more satellites in orbit as part of its cluster satellite system.
Hancom InSpace CEO, Choi Myung-jin, stated that with heightened national security concerns and ongoing conflicts, the demand for imaging data collected through satellites is increasing at a rapid pace, fueling strong growth into the industry and its associated verticals.
Choi further added that the company will lead South Korea's emerging space era by aggressively running a data service businesses based on its acquisition of satellite image processing and AI-based analysis technologies since 2012.