South Korea has decided to terminate the eight-year mission of its first multipurpose satellite, which controllers lost contact with last month, the space agency said Sunday.
Arirang 1, launched in December 1999 to map Earth, will have its mission formally ended on January 31, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said in a statement.
The state-run agency said it had made repeated but unsuccessful uplink efforts since contact was lost on December 30.
The satellite is programmed to use its own emergency power, which is expected to last for only one month, before gradually descending to be burnt-up upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, the agency said.
A final analysis showed that the satellite was wrongly positioned and could not secure enough power from its solar panels, it said.
Arirang 1, which was initially designed to operate for three years, has outlived its life expectancy, producing some 470,000 images of the Earth’s surface, the agency said.
South Korea, a late-comer in the space race, has launched three commercial communications satellites since 1995. It launched its first military communications satellite in 2006.
In November, it announced a plan to launch a lunar orbiter by 2020 and to send a probe to the moon five years after that.