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From K-pop to Mars: South Korea's $70 Billion Space Vision

South Korea loudly announced the beginning of space exploration, namely, the landing of probes on Mars by 2045.

President Yoon Suk Yeol has announced a comprehensive strategy that involves investment of $70 billion over the next decades. Central to this initiative is the recently established Korea Aerospace Exploration Agency (KASA), which aims to position South Korea as a major player in space exploration alongside the United States and China.

Modeled and modeled after NASA, KASA serves as the hub of South Korea's aerospace activities, overseeing everything from satellite development to space missions. According to the statements, the agency, in cooperation with Hanwha Aerospace, first plans to land its own probe on the Moon by 2032, and then land on Mars in 2045, placing the Taegeukgi - the South Korean flag - there.

In addition, the agency is committed to supporting private sector participation in space missions, as exemplified by upcoming trials with Perigee Aerospace, a South Korean space startup.

And what happened before?

South Korea's space exploration began with achievements such as the successful launch of the first lunar orbiter, Danuri, in 2022 using a SpaceX Falcon rocket. And before that, South Korea developed the Nuri rocket, which finally launched working satellites into orbit in 2021 after overcoming a series of setbacks. It is worth noting that the fourth launch of the Nuri missile is planned for the second half of 2025.

What does this mean?

The creation of KASA marks a major reorganization of South Korea's space program. Previously, space-related activities were fragmented between several institutions, including the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASSI). This fragmentation limited the country's growth in the aerospace sector. The consolidation within KASA aims to streamline efforts and enhance South Korea's ability to compete globally in space exploration.

International cooperation and strategic goals of KASA

KASA will participate in joint projects with leading space research institutions such as NASA and JAXA. The agency also seeks to promote economic cooperation with developing countries, especially those that have recently entered into agreements in the aerospace industry, such as the UAE. This cooperation will allow South Korea to share information, knowledge, technology and resources to strengthen its space potential.

A bit of history

South Korea's development of space technology has historically been held back by a Cold War-era agreement with the United States that prohibited the development of a space program until 2020. Despite such a late start, South Korea quickly achieved several milestones, successfully deploying Danuri and launching its military and commercial satellites.

South Korea's space exploration goals, which begin with the creation of KASA and the landing of probes on Mars by 2045, signify the desire to become a key player in the global space community. Consolidating space-related activities within KASA and focusing on international cooperation and private sector support are strategic steps to overcome past limitations and accelerate South Korea's progress in space technology.

Author: Nessa, Cyber Journalist

Source: https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org

Photo: Pexels/SpaceX

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