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South Korean multi-mission satellite

Airbus Defence and Space hands over control of COMS

Launched by Ariane 5 on 26 June 2010, the Airbus Defence and Space-built multi-mission COMS satellite has been officially handed over to the customer, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

COMS (Communications, Oceanography and Meteorology Satellite) was developed and manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space in cooperation with KARI. A veritable ‘Swiss Army knife’ of a satellite, COMS is the first three-axis stabilised geostationary observation satellite developed and manufactured by a European company to carry three payloads dedicated to meteorology applications, ocean observation and telecommunications.

The final COMS project handover meeting took place in July, with Airbus Defence and Space officially passing control of the COMS satellite to KARI, which now assumes full responsibility for COMS operations. The handover follows in-orbit acceptance of the satellite, which was successfully completed on 17 March 2011.

This final formal phase of the delivery gave the Airbus Defence and Space team and the customer the chance to carry out a joint check of the satellite configuration and the relevant documentation, and to ensure that no outstanding issues remained to be addressed.

On the occasion of the hand-over, KARI said how satisfied it is with the work Airbus Defence and Space has carried out over the last six years, leading up to the successful completion of the satellite project, and announced that the satellite’s development phase is now officially concluded. COMS has a contractual lifetime of seven years from the date of the final acceptance review, although it has enough fuel to function in orbit for more than 10 years.

The heads of Airbus Defence and Space’s Earth Observation, Navigation and Science (ENS) division and the COMS project leaders also expressed their profound satisfaction and their gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the programme’s success. In orbit now for over a year, the satellite has proved itself capable of performing in all thermal conditions over the course of two solstices and two equinoxes, demonstrating the full range of its design and functional capabilities.

The images captured by the satellite can be seen at the following end-user websites: Korea Meteorological Administration ( for images from the Meteo Imager; and the Korea Ocean Satellite Center, ( for images from the Geostationary Ocean Colour Imager.