1. HOME
  2. Interviews & Features
  3. Features - 2003
  4. Mainproject



Aerospace technology, together with biotechnology and nanotechnology, is in the vanguard of scientific and technological progress in the 21 century. Likewise, its significance has become increasingly better understood and appreciated on a national level as the South Korean government has selected Space Technology(ST) as one of the six national technologies(6T) and has drawn up the National Technology Road Map, in which the ST is categorized as national strategic technology. Aerospace research and development in Korea progress in accordance with 'The Mid & Long-term National Space Development Plan' of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and 'The Master Plan for the Development of the Aerospace Industry' of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.

The contributions and activities at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute focus on research and development of aircraft, artificial satellites and rockets, and also include type certification of aircraft and quality assurance for space products as are tasks delegated by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation. As for satellites, the development project for Korea Multipurpose Satellite 2(KOMSAT-2), planned to be launched into orbit in 2004, is continuing. Also, we have witnessed an inception of a satellite development project for communications, oceanography and meteorology. In rockets, several years of commitment to rocket development yielded a successful test launch of liquid-fueled scientific rocket KSR-III on Nov 28, 2002. As a sequel to this success, we have initiated a new project for KSLV-I, a space launch vehicle for small satellites of 100kg in low-earth orbit. In addition to these ongoing efforts, the construction work for the Space Center, to be equipped with rocket launch facilities, is expected to be completed in 2005, and we anticipate to advance in the global space race, earning its place with Korean technology and expertise.

Satellite Development Program

As embedded in the National Space Program, Korea aims to become one of the world's top ten countries in space technology by 2015. The total of 20 satellites are planned to be put into orbit as schematized as schematized in Figure 1; they include 8 multi-purpose satellites, 7 science satellites and 5 geo-stationary orbit satellites.

*KOMPSAT Program

KARI had developed a Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-1(KOMPSAT-1 or Ariang), a small-sized earth observation satellite of 470kg with an orbital altitude of 685km over 5 years of collaborative research with TRW of the U.S.A. KOMPTSAT-1 was successfully launched at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California in the U.S.A. on December 20, 1999.

Figure 1. National Space Program (2000-2015)

The KOMPSAT-1 has three payloads, which include high-resolution Electro-Optical Camera (EOC), Ocean Scanning Multispectral Imager (OSMI) and Space Physics Sensor (SPS). The EOC, a main payload, collects panchromatic imagery with a Ground Sample Distance (GSD) of 6.6m and a swath width of 17km by push broom scanning. The Republic of Korea has been releasing relevant data to local and overseas users since June 1, 2000. Such data are authorized for use for peaceful purposes only. KOMPSAT-1 was the first Korean satellite for earth observation. Following the success of KOMPSAT-1 project, Korea has built national infrastructure related to the earth observation satellite.

Figure 2. Artist's Impression of KOMSAT-II

Since the successful launch of the KOMPSAT-1, KARI has been developing Korea Multi Purpose Satellite-2(KOMPSAT-2), a 765kg earth observation satellite with an orbital altitude of 685km, featured in Figure 2. The main mission of KOMPSAT-2 is the acquisition of GIS image (PAN, MS) for the Korean peninsula with three years of life span. Multi-Spectral Camera(MSC) is the main payload of KOMPSAT-2 and now is being developed jointly with ELOP Electronics Industries Ltd, Israel. MSC will be capable of taking photostatic images with the 1m panchromatic resolution and 4m multi-spectral resolution with a swath width of 15km by push broom scanning.

*COMS Program

The Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite(COMS) program was approved by the National Science and Technology Committee in 2002. KARI will develop COMS-1, a geosynchronous multi-mission satellite with its planned launch in 2008. The mission of COMS series is three-fold. The first is weather monitoring of full Earth disc, East Asia and the Korean peninsula with high spatial, temporal and spectral resolution. The second is ocean color monitoring to preserve and develop marine resources and ecosystem around the Korean peninsula. The third is to foster domestic institutes to develop and acquire the in-orbit verification of communication payload technology.

Space Launch Vehicles Development Program
*KSR(Korea Sounding Rocket) Series

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) embarked on a research and development program for the scientific rocket, KSR-I (Korea Sounding Rocket-I) in 1990, which was the first domestic single-stage unguided solid-propellant scientific rocket with a length of 6.7m, a diameter of 0.42m and lift-off weight of 1.2tons. KSR-I was launched on June 4 and September 1, 1993, respectively carrying an ultraviolet radiometer with the mission to measure the vertical ozone distribution in the stratosphere over the Korean peninsular. Temperature, acceleration and the other parameters were also measured to examine the performance of the rocket throughout the test flights. KSR-I had the payload capacity of 150kg and could reach the altitude of 75km.

KSR-II was a 2-stage solid propellant scientific rocket developed for the scientific experiments at the upper atmosphere. Based on the experience acquired through the development and launch of the single stage rockets, KARI was able to build the KSR-II, powerful enough to reach the altitude of maximum 150km and beyond. The rocket has a length of 11.04m, a total weight of 2tons, and a diameter of 0.42m. It measured the vertical distribution of ozone by using ultraviolet radiometer.

Figure 3. Image of the Launch of KSR-III

KARI embarked on its first liquid-fuel rocket project in December 1997. KARI developed a liquid propulsion rocket system, KSR-III incorporating core technologies for the satellite launch vehicle such as in propulsion, guidance/control, mission design, etc. On November 28, 2002, KARI successfully launched KSR-III, as pictured below. It reached an altitude of 42.7km and flew over 84 km. This project can be considered a preparatory step towards a satellite launch vehicle development.

*KSLV(Korea Space Launch Vehicle) Series

KARI and the Ministry of Science and Technology plan to develop a satellite launch vehicle capable of putting a 100 kg payload into orbit by 2005. The KSR-III sounding rocket's successful launch indicates that Korea has secured the basic technology needed to develop a satellite-launching vehicle. As most of the core technologies of KSR-III can be applied to KSLV-I, the core technologies obtained for KSR-III in cooperation with universities and industries will serve a basis for the KSLV-I development.

*Space Center

The space center will be constructed for space launchers. The first phase of the construction of the center will be finished by 2005 for launch of KSLV 1. The center is located at Ko-Hoeung on the southern coast of the Korean peninsular.

Space Technology Application & Space Science
*Space Science

The space science research in Korea has been carried out by KARI, KAO (Korea Astronomy Observatory) and SatReC of KAIST, and major universities in Korea. As the satellite and sounding rocket programs have evolved in 1990s, the space science research activities have also become more active in the Republic of Korea. The data analysis of foreign programs or ground-based observations consist of major portion of space science research in Korea. The KAISTSAT series have measured global high-energy particle distribution and the earth's magnetic fields. The KOMPSAT-I carries out global ionospheric measurements as well as high-energy particle experiment. The sounding rocket programs have also contributed to the ionospheric and ozone layer experiments. Other experiments in UV and X-ray observation are also rapidly growing subjects for upper atmospheric science and astronomy using satellites and sounding rockets. Korea is also trying to participate in ISS program. KARI has been discussing with NASA for the joint ACCESS mission. At the same time, the talks with Boeing/NASA on the participation in Zarya module are continuing.


News Mails

Visit the archive of APRSAF's previous mail magazine.

News Letter

Latest issue of APRSAF News Letter
> No.26 <August 2017>