South Korea has its sights on space. And to achieve its aerospace goals, the country will be establishing KASA, Korea Aerospace Administration, modelled after NASA.
Over the past years, the space industry has seen remarkable events that may shape the future of space exploration for decades to come. From launching the long-awaited James Webb space telescope to returning back to the moon, we have had a feast of exciting events gracing us. The booming industry has paved the way for new players to enter the space field, including South Korea which wants to establish its own space agency. On November 28, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced the country’s ambitious goals to land spacecraft on the moon by 2032 and on Mars by 2045.
South Korea boosted its expenditure for its 2022 national space programme with the total space budget amounting to 734 billion won ($553 million). In efforts to achieve the goals, the president aims to double the government’s space development budget in the next five years and funnel at least 100 trillion won ($74.7 billion) into the space sector by 2045. During his speech, the president stated, “From now on, a country with a vision for space can lead the global economy and solve the problems facing humanity. The dream for a space power will not be a distant future, but an opportunity and hope for children and young people”.
Only in June this year did South Korea successfully launch satellites into low earth orbit on their domestically developed rocket, KSLV-2, from Naro Space Center in Goheung. This is a major milestone achievement for the country which has been heavily relying on Russian technology to launch satellites from overseas launch sites since the early 1990s. The June launch is a clear demonstration of South Korea’s determination to achieve its aerospace ambitions.
The president has also set sights on creating a South Korean national space agency modelled after NASA by next year. Named Korea Aerospace Administration (KASA), the agency will integrate all the national space programmes (currently spread out under various departments) to be under the single roof of the Ministry of Science and ICT.
In order to facilitate the moon mission, the president assured the development of a next-generation rocket engine in the next five years. Although he did not expand on the reason for pushing back the moon landing mission from 2032 to 2030 (the target year planned by his predecessor), a science ministry official cited the extended time to develop a lander and a carrier rocket as a possible reason for the delay.
All in all, South Korea is on a resolute path to achieve its space-faring dreams. The country is looking to work with European nations and strengthen ties with the United States in advancing their spacefaring goals. “The Korea-U.S. alliance will be extended into the Korea-U.S. space alliance, and we will expand the cooperation with the international society in space security,” believes South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.