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Korea’s KASS satellite system now certified and operational

Image: imaginima/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images

Image: imaginima/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images

The Korea Augmentation Satellite System (KASS), designed and implemented by Thales Alenia Space, has been officially certified by Korean national authorities and has entered operational service. The system was developed in partnership with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) on behalf of the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT).

The project has received support from various international and European entities, including the European Commission, the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the French Space Agency (CNES).

KASS, operational via the MEASAT-3d geostationary satellite launched in 2022, will soon be enhanced by the addition of KOREASAT 6A. It is currently under development by Thales Alenia Space for KT SAT Corporation, South Korea’s leading satellite communications operator.

The addition of KOREASAT 6A — equipped with a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) payload by Thales Alenia Space — aims to improve the system’s service continuity and operational availability.

Designed to meet international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), KASS will initially prioritize aircraft applications and focus on Safety of Life services critical during flight phases, including landing. This focus is intended to enhance flight safety and efficiency while minimizing the environmental impact of aviation. Additionally, KASS is designed to be interoperable with other SBAS satellite navigation systems worldwide to offer seamless flight safety across different zones.

KASS, the second SBAS system developed by Thales Alenia Space following EGNOS (the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System), is designed to optimize GPS constellation performance and includes upgrades compatible with the Galileo and Korean Positioning System (KPS) constellations. By enhancing the integrity, availability, continuity of services and positioning accuracy, KASS aims to reduce GPS positioning errors from the current 15 to 33 m to approximately 1 m across Korea.

Future expansions of the KASS services are anticipated to include public safety, road transport, shipping, and scientific applications.

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