On 3 April 2018, the second France-Korea Space Forum was held in Paris, jointly organized by France’s space agency CNES and South Korea’s space agency the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The event, a continuation of the first France-Korea Space Forum held in 2016, was an initiative to extend and strengthen the partnership between the two nations.
Present at the event were CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Lim Cheol-Ho, President of KARI, along with representatives from government and industry, including CEO of Arianespace Stéphane Israël.
Among topics discussed were the ongoing projects between CNES and KARI, under the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2015. Examples of such projects include CNES’ assistance in developing the ground segment for KARI’s new Korea Satellite Launch Vehicle 2 (KSLV 2) launcher, which is currently being developed with an aim to test-fly it in late 2018. France is also helping South Korea with its satellite augmentation system Korea Augmentation Satellite System (KASS), which is currently being developed by Thales Alenia. In a separate deal, Thales Alenia will also provide KARI with communications equipment for Korea’s first lunar probe, slated to launch in 2020.
The event also saw a roundtable discussion on the possibility of KARI using European launchers for future spacecraft – according to Israël’s Twitter page, “Arianespace is ready to support Korea’s future space ambitions with our next-generation launch vehicles, Ariane 6 and Vega C”. To date, Arianespace has orbited 6 satellites for South Korea, with two more, GEO-KOMPSAT-2A and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B, slated for launch in 2018 and 2019 respective.
The France-Korea Space Forum is the latest in a series of bilateral meetings between France and Asian states in the field of space. Over the past year, France has signed new space-related deals with India, China, Singapore, Australia, and Japan, and has standing agreements with other ASEAN states.