Jo Kwang-rae, head of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), cited space rocket propulsion technology as the greatest and most difficult challenge that the institute faces at a meeting with members of the Presidential Advisory Council on Education, Science & Technology in its main office in Daejeon on Dec. 19.
He said, “Space technology has a huge potential utilization and far-reaching influence, in addition to its symbolic meaning. So, China and India are competing with each other to develop technology,” adding, “Ultimately, power in international society may depend on whether or not a country has the capability to make space launch vehicles.”
Mr. Jo also mentioned Korea's space technology level. He remarked, “Our satellite technology has reached 80 to 90 percent of that of advanced countries, but we fall behind them in space launch vehicles.” He added, “If our space launch vehicles, with a target completion date of 2019 and 2020, are successfully developed, our technology will reach the level of developed countries.” He continued by saying, “Prior to the launch of Korea Space Launch Vehicle I, our technology to make space launch vehicles was regarded to amount to only the 46 percent level of advanced countries. But the number increased to the 83 percent level after the launch.”
Jo also addressed difficulties in developing engines for launching space vehicles. He said, “We are testing engines for locally-made space vehicles, but our attempts have not been as successful as expected, and have seen repeated failures. The development also has not progressed as speedily as expected.” He added, “We will overcome failures and succeed in the localization of engines.”
As for international cooperation, “In the space launch vehicle area, we are unable to cooperate with other countries through government policies, aside from Russia, which jointly made KSLV-I. However, I think that we could work with other countries, using our advanced electronics and electrical technology.”