South Korea has set a record budget for its space industry

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South Korea has announced a record space programme budget of $674m for 2023, a 19.5% increase on the previous year. The funds will be used to develop the next generation launch vehicle, a rocket that will replace the current KSLV-2 carrier. The programme will also aim to expand the civilian space vehicle sector, including the development of a national satellite navigation system. The country’s president, Yoon Seok Yeol, has said he expects to double space program spending and direct $76.8bn into the space sector by 2045. South Korea also plans on launching its first robotic lunar lander in 2032 on the KSLV-3 carrier.

South Korea has set a record budget for its space industry

South Korea will invest a record $674 million in its space program, which is 19.5% more than the space budget in 2022. These funds will be used to expand the space industry and develop the next generation launch vehicle. In this way, the republic seeks to strengthen the potential of its space defense.

The announced budget for 2023 became a record for South Korea. Details of the project were approved by the National Assembly last December. The country’s president Yoon Seok Yeol did not rule out an increase in the space budget in November. According to him, spending on this direction will increase twofold over the next five years, and by 2045 $76.8 billion will be directed to the space sector.

In the future, countries with a space vision will lead the world economy and will be able to solve the problems that humanity is already facing, the president said.

The first step in achieving South Korea’s goals will be the establishment of a budget exceeding $1.1 billion by 2027, said Ahn Hyun-jung, a researcher at the Republic’s Institute of Science and Technology Policy.

A significant part of the amount ($450 million) pledged for 2023 will go to the development of civilian space vehicles, including the creation of a national satellite navigation system. This will help open new markets, explained the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of the Republic.

The remaining funds ($113.6 million) will be directed to the development of a rocket that will replace the current carrier KSLV-2. The first launches of the KSLV-3 will take place in 2030, a two-stage rocket that runs on kerosene and liquid oxygen. The first stage will be equipped with five engines with a thrust of 100 tons each, and the second – with two boosters providing a thrust of 10 tons. The engines and rocket hardware will be developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and a private partner to be chosen by September.

KSLV-3 will be able to deliver up to 10 tons of payload to low Earth orbit, 7 tons to sun-synchronous orbit, 3.7 tons to geotransition orbit. South Korea plans to launch its first robotic lunar lander on a new rocket in 2032.

The third launch of KSLV-2 will take place from mid-May to the end of June, which will deliver eight satellites into orbit. As part of the preliminary launch of the rocket on June 21, 2022, one test and four university satellites were launched at the NGO. In August, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched the first South Korean satellite.

At the end of last year, the country’s authorities announced plans to create a fund to support Korean space startups, the budget of which will be $39 billion.

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