In the year 2021, South Korea will invest $553.1 million (615 billion won) in space operations to boost its ability to develop satellites, rockets, as well as other essential equipment. The budget was announced on February 8 by the Ministry of Science and ICT, which represents 16 government agencies participating in space development.
The overall sum was a marginal decline from the previous year’s 615.8 won, comparing with increased budgets in large economies like China and the United States as the space race was reignited with the arrival of New Space. “Through our own technologies, we will effectively complete high-profile space technology ventures in the year 2021, including the launch of the carrier rocket ‘Nuri’ as well as a next-generation medium-sized satellite,” stated Jeong Byung-seon, who is the 1st vice-minister in charge of the Ministry of Science and ICT, in a statement.
The production of observation and multi-functional communications satellites and an advanced satellite data management program for public services such as marine and environmental observation and weather forecasting would account for approximately 50% of the budget of 322.6 billion won.
Two multi-functional observation satellites are currently being developed and will be launched into the orbit next year. Two more devices, a normal observation satellite as well as a microsatellite constellation, are in the works. There are also five more that are being built for scientific research purposes. The KSLV-2 is still on target after a 101-second evaluation burn.
The deployment of the country’s first domestically produced rocket, the KSLV-2, dubbed Nuri, would consume approximately 30% of the expenditure, or about 189.7 billion won. South Korea intends to launch the latest 200-ton KSLV-2 rocket with a prototype payload in October from the Naro Space Center situated in Goheung, with the second launch in 2022 May carrying a real satellite.
Despite the fact that the country launched a 140-ton KSLV-1 rocket into the space in the year 2013 after two unsuccessful efforts, the launch vehicle’s first stage, the key rocket, was designed using the Russian technologies. The KSLV-2, on the other hand, is entirely focused on indigenous technologies. The three-stage rocket has four 75-ton liquid engines in the first-stage booster and is designed to take a 1.5-ton satellite into the low Earth orbit. A sole 75-ton engine powers the second stage, while a 7-ton engine powers the third.
The KSLV-2’s initial stage engines were subjected to the second phase of combustion evaluations on February 25. The test lasted 101 seconds, according to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), and indicated no noticeable issues with the engines’ longevity. In January, the engines completed a 30-second first assessment, and in March, they would go through the final 130-second investigation. If the final evaluation goes well, South Korea will be on budget for the rocket’s demo launch in October.