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New space agency aims for top 5 global ranking in sector

The Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA), the new "control tower" of the domestic space sector, was officially launched on May 27 in Sacheon, Gyeongsangnam-do Province. (Sacheon City Hall)

By Park Hyeri

The Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA), part of an initiative to make the nation one of the world's top five space powers by 2045, was officially launched on May 27 in Sacheon, Gyeongsangnam-do Province.

KASA will serve as a "control tower" for the domestic aerospace industry by overseeing policy, research and development (R&D), sector advancement and international cooperation.

The government seeks to develop more than 2,000 innovative aerospace companies to lead the economy based on creative ideas and technological capacity and create some 500,000 high-quality jobs via KASA.

Other tasks are to support space companies and foster aerospace as a next-generation flagship industry to raise Korea's share of the global aerospace market from 1% to 10% worth KRW 420 trillion by 2045.

The government's five major missions in the field this year are space exploration, transportation, industry, security and science with an allocated budget of KRW 992.3 billion.

KASA will develop a lunar probe to land on the moon in 2032 and promote the design and R&D of a 100-ton-class, multi-stage combustion cycle engine for next-generation launch vehicles to compete on the commercial launch service market.

In addition to overall assembly of the system for the fourth launch of the space rocket Nuri next year, the nation's first private launch site for small projectiles will be built at the Naro Space Center in Goheung-gun County, Jeollanam-do Province, to support private space activity.

Other plans are expanding participation in the U.S.-led Artemis program for a manned lunar landing, launching a tripartite system for a public-private space industry cluster to lead the private-led space industry and setting up a solar coronagraph.

Immediately after its opening, KASA went to work on finding joint international projects with leading space organizations abroad such as NASA of the U.S. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency international cooperation. Other economic cooperation projects will target countries that recently signed with Korea memorandums of understanding in aerospace such as the United Arab Emirates.

In November 2022, the government launched a task force to create KASA to build the space economy. In January this year, the National Assembly in a plenary session passed a bill proposed in April last year on the agency's inception and operation.