Space tech a key focus for South Korea in 2020

Image courtesy of Korean Ministry of Science and ICT.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT has released its official proposal for the year 2020, subject to Presidential approval. In it, space technology is listed as one of the Ministry’s key focuses, along with 5G, AI, biopharma, and digital media.

The exact budget allocated to space research was not revealed, but the Ministry says it will be focusing on satellites and launch, mentioning specifically the launch and operations of Cheollian-2B a geostationary meteorological satellite slated to launch in February with Arianespace’s Ariane 5. Cheollian-2B will study fine dust in East Asia and the Korean peninsula, and will complement earth imaging satellite Cheollian-2A, launched last year.

The Ministry’s press release also singled out the launch of KSLV, the country’s first indigenous orbital rocket, targeting 2020 for its maiden launch. Additionally, Korea’s space programme, which is run by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), is working towards a lunar mission, which will consist of a lunar probe in its initial phase.

South Korea’s ICT plans also emphasizes 5G, which is listed separately but which the country’s satellite industry is heavily involved in; in November last year, South Korean satellite operator KT SAT announced making the world’s first satellite 5G connection. KT SAT is also working on satellite-based quantum communication, an industry which The Korea Herald reports will be getting 114 billion KRW (US$100m) from the government over the next five years.

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