Thales Alenia Space Partners Korean Aerospace Companies to Develop Observation Radar Satellites

Thales Alenia Space has signed two new contracts with Korean aerospace and satellite solutions based companies. While the first contract was signed with Korean Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI), the other was signed with Hanwha Systems Corporation (HSC), a defense and technology solutions provider. Through the contract, the three companies will work together to develop a constellation of high-resolution Earth observation radar satellites for the Agency for Defence Development (ADD), known as Korea “425 Project”, to serve South Korean defense operations.

Korean Aerospace Industries leads a consortium of companies including South Korea’s Hanwha System and Thales Alenia Space. All three companies have been involved in developing satellites and related technologies for a number of years. Technical co-operation and several know-hows required for the SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) Satellite development will be transferred to the Korean companies. This will maximize their involvement in the production of the last satellite of the Constellation, providing them with an outstanding growth in the field of design and development of Earth Observation Systems.

For the 4 satellites, Thales Alenia Space will provide the SAR Payloads and the platform elements (especially for Control Momentum Gyro and sensors) derived from the HE-R1000 product (High Efficiency Radar), part of the Thales Alenia Space Observation product family that includes both radar and optical satellites. This technology will enable short revisit times for each of the satellites, and support all-weather operation, with a very high global revisit frequency. The constellation will be used by the Korean authorities for surveillance, intelligence and control of specific areas of interest thanks to the acquisition of high-resolution images.

Agility is one of the primary assets for advanced missions entrusted to this new generation of high-resolution surveillance satellites. Based on an active feed array and reflector antenna innovative solution, the satellites ensure superior quality images, while unique agility capability is provided thanks to the adaptation of a control momentum gyro: a spinning rotor and one motorized gimbal tilt the rotor’s angular momentum. As the rotor tilts, the changing angular momentum causes a gyroscopic torque that rotates the spacecraft. Moving around the three axes, these “dancing satellites”, will be fitted with a special antenna developed within the scope of the Thales Alenia Space Research & Development program. With a diameter of 5 meters, the new-generation antenna will open its 24 petals once in space.

Thales Alenia Space’s participation in the 425 Project is the latest milestone in its long-standing collaboration with South Korea on a number of space programs, including KOMPSAT-5; the Koreasat telecommunications satellite family, GEO-KOMPSAT-2, KASS, and more.