NATIONAL

‘KARI, NASA discuss moon satellite launch’

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 26, 2012 - 19:52
  • Updated : Jan 26, 2012 - 19:52
Korea could launch a satellite to orbit the moon in collaboration with the U.S.’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

A Korean daily reported Thursday that the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and NASA are discussing a collaborative lunar exploration project.

According to the report, KARI and NASA held two rounds of talks with government officials in attendance last year, and plan to sign an agreement in March or April.

The report quoted NASA’s Belgacem Jaroux as saying that the two organizations plan to begin the project as soon as possible.

According to the report, the project will involve two or three miniature satellites and require about $50 million.

“It is true that talks are on the way, but whether or not the project will go ahead can only be decided once a budget has been assigned,” a KARI official said.

He added that the budgets for related issues are decided by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

“If the project goes ahead, it will not involve landing any equipment on the moon, but a CubeSat will be sent to orbit the moon.”

The media report had said it would land the satellites on the surface of the moon. A CubeSat is a cubic satellite 10 centimeters across.

Regarding the role Korea will play, the KARI official said that details will be finalized after the project has been given the go-ahead but that related matters are likely to have been discussed.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, however, says that the government is not involved in the talks.

“The ministry is monitoring related projects, but there have been no talks involving the government on the issue,” an official at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said.

“The talks were between researchers to exchange information, and no decisions regarding providing government support have been made.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)