President Park Geun-hye has voiced hope that South Korea and the United States will boost cooperation in lunar exploration and other space programs.
South Korea joined the global space club with a successful launch of a satellite into orbit in 2013, though its rocket was built in cooperation with Russia.
South Korea is seeking to develop the country's own space vehicle and to launch an unmanned spacecraft to probe the Moon by 2020.
"I hope that South Korea and the U.S. will expand cooperation on lunar exploration and space," Park said Wednesday during a visit to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Goddard Space Flight Center, set up in 1959, is a high-tech research institute for space exploration. It operates, among other things, the Hubble Space Telescope.
Noah Petro, a scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at Goddard, said he hopes South Korea and the U.S. will expand cooperation on lunar exploration.
In May, NASA and its South Korean counterpart signed a letter of intent calling for cooperation on lunar exploration.
South Korea and the U.S. are pushing space cooperation as a new frontier of their alliance that has long been associated with security cooperation against the threats posed by North Korea.
Park also expressed hope that her visit to Goddard would serve as an occasion to further boost bilateral cooperation on space after receiving a briefing on NASA's Mars and lunar exploration programs.
Christopher Scolese, director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said he is pleased to cooperate with South Korea and expressed hope that the two sides will expand cooperation.
Park also watched a pre-recorded video message from Scott Kelly, commander of the International Space Station orbiting 250 miles above Earth.
"On behalf of my crewmates, I want to extend our warmest wishes from space to President Park on the occasion of a visit to Goddard," he said.
Fifty years ago, Park's father, then-President Park Chung-hee, visited Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Yonhap)