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Hanwha heir to spearhead group’s ‘shortcut to space’

Hanwha Group’s aerospace task force Space Hub launched Sunday (Hanwha Group)
Hanwha Group’s aerospace task force Space Hub launched Sunday (Hanwha Group)

Kim Dong-kwan, the heir apparent of South Korea’s defense-to-finance conglomerate Hanwha and the mastermind behind its advancements in the solar power industry, will lead the group’s space satellite business, the group said Sunday.

The 37-year-old chief executive of Hanwha Solutions and the eldest son of Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-youn will head aerospace task force “Space Hub,” which will comprise key personnel and engineers from Hanwha affiliates.

The move follows the naming of him last month as a registered executive of the group’s main defense arm Hanwha Aerospace, subject for the final approval by the board of directors. It was seen as a strategic move by Hanwha to nurture the space industry as a future growth engine, along with green energy.

Under the direct command of Kim, the team will be responsible for setting a future strategy for the group’s aerospace business, the group said.

“With engineers, we will find a shortcut to space. It requires expertise and all-out support to compete against global companies,” Kim said via press release.

On board of Space Hub are Hanwha Aerospace engineers who participated in the development of “Nuri,” Korea’s first fully indigenous carrier rocket, which has successfully completed the first-stage engine combustion test last month.

Hanwha Systems’ satellite communications and urban air mobility experts and Hanwha Group’s weapons system developers are set to join later. Officials from Satrec Initiative, a maker of small satellites that is 30 percent owned by Hanwha Aerospace, are to join too.

“Hanwha is drawing a big picture in space. For example, Hanwha Systems can install communications systems on Satrec Initiative’s satellites. Then, Hanwha Aerospace rockets can take those satellites to the orbit,” a Hanwha official said.

According to Morgan Stanley, the global private space industry is expected to generate revenue of $1.1 trillion in 2040, up from $350 billion in 2017.

By Kim Byung-wook (