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Transportation to spaceThe United States and Russia have secured space launch vehicle technology since the 1950s. Europe, Japan, China, and India are also pursuing space development, such as launching satellites, space probes, and transporting space cargo, by securing space launch vehicle technology. All of the satellites developed in Korea have been launched using foreign space launch vehicles. As a latecomer in the research and development of space launch vehicle, Korea does not own a space launch vehicle yet. Since countries restrict cross-border technology transfer for space launch vehicles, it takes much time and development cost and many trials and errors due to technical difficulties. With the recent introduction of innovative recycled launch vehicles by US private space enterprise Space X, Europe and Japan are also developing low-cost and high-efficiency launch vehicles. Moreover, many startups around the world are developing ultra-small launch vehicles capable of launching nanosatellites. The global commercial space launch vehicle market is expected to expand as the number of space development countries increases and more small satellites are developed.
Development of space launch vehicle with domestic technologyKARI has cultivated its rocket design and manufacturing capabilities by developing single-stage solid propulsion science rocket (KSR-I, 1993), double-stage solid propulsion mid-sized science rocket (KSR-II, 1998), and Korea’s first liquid propulsion science rocket (KSR-UUU, 2002). It acquired space launch vehicle know-how and experience by developing Naro (successfully launched in 2013), the double-stage space launch vehicle consisting of a first-stage liquid engine and a second-stage solid engine, through international cooperation with Russia. It is currently developing a 3-stage Korean launch vehicle (Nuri) with domestic technology to launch a 1.5t-class application satellite into a solar-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 600~800km. The Nuri is a space transportation vehicle necessary for Korea to become a space powerhouse and a key vehicle for stable space development. KARI plans to launch a domestically developed satellite using the Nuri between 2022 and 2027. With the Nuri development, Korea has finally secured the three elements of space development: the satellite, the launch vehicle, and the launch site. They will enable Korea to launch its satellite at any desired time.
Status of Rocket Development in Korea
|Subject||KSR-I||KSR-II||KSR-III||Naro (KSLV-I)||Korean Launch Vehicle (KSLV-II)|
|Purpose||Localization of single-stage non-guided scientific observation rockets and exploration of the ozone layer over the Korean Peninsula||Localization of double-stage solid propulsion scientific observation rockets with initial altitude control function||Securing base technology for independent development of liquid propulsion rockets and small satellite launch vehicles||Securing technology and experience for independently developing launch vehicles that can carry a 100kg- class satellite into low-earth orbit||Securing development know-how of a launch vehicle that can carry a 1.5-ton application satellite into low-orbit|
|Development period||1990.7 ～ 1993.10||1993.11 ～ 1998.6||1997.12 ～ 2003.2||2002.8 ～ 2013.4||2010.3 ～ 2022.3|
|Development cost (KRW 100 million)||28.5||52||780||5,025||19,572|