South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) announced that it would expand its space exploration programs for enhancing national security and creating new business platforms. MSIT noted that the space-related projects would also earn the country a leading position in the global 6G communication race.
To this end, South Korea plans to increase its space exploration-related investments and actively revise its systems. These measures would then lay the foundation for private sectors to partake more in domestic space development.
Earlier this May, the US approved a restriction lift on South Korea’s 42-year-old missile development program in a bilateral agreement. As a result, the country could now boost its rocket development and establish more powerful rocket engines.
The restriction lift would also enable South Korea to catch up with the fast-growing commercial space industry. According to the Agency for Defense Development, the country has been securing technologies to develop longer-range missiles for national security.
Launching Nuri This October
Furthermore, MSIT’s Minister, Lim Hye-Sook, shared the country’s recent advances in its space exploration programs. In particular, Lim stated that South Korea would launch its locally developed three-stage Nuri space vehicle this October.
The 2-trillion won ($1.8 billion) Nuri project would place a 1.5-ton satellite in a 600 to 800-kilometer orbit above Earth. Nuri also marks an improvement from the two-stage Naro rocket, which took off in 2013 with a 100-kilogram research satellite.
What’s more, Nuri already completed capacity evaluation steps and passed certification tests this March, recurrently putting together the flight model. The MSIT Minister also emphasized Nuri’s significance, especially since it has the world’s seventh-most powerful liquid fuel engine.
In addition to being an intelligence-based, cutting-edge sector, the space industry is crucial for national strategies in terms of ensuring public safety and security. Although South Korea is a global leader in numerous technology sectors, Lim said that its space projects lag behind those of China and Japan.
Increasing Space Exploration Investments
“We look forward to constant development in the future on the space exploration front where our future generation can expand activity platforms,” said the MSIT Minister. In the same vein, South Korea recently unveiled the prototype of KF-X, its first-ever indigenously built fighter jet.
South Korea also plans to establish a satellite navigation system, build a 6G satellite network, and launch a lunar lander by 2030. MSIT shared that the country is currently undergoing studies to design its lunar lander, aiming to start development by 2024.
MSIT also noted that it plans to utilize future moon exploration for national defense in the public and economic sectors. Accordingly, South Korea joined NASA’s Artemis program, which seeks to land humans on the moon’s surface again by 2024.
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