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SpaceX to launch Korea’s midsize satellite in 2023

SpaceX logo (SpaceX)
SpaceX logo (SpaceX)


SpaceX will send South Korea’s next-generation midsize satellite into orbit in 2023, Korea Aerospace Industries said Sunday.

KAI, the nation’s sole aircraft manufacturer, which developed KF-21 fighters, plans to launch four midsize satellites by 2025 -- No. 2 in 2022, No. 3 and No. 4 in 2023 and No. 5 in 2025. SpaceX rocket will carry the No. 4 into orbit, which will monitor Korean agriculture.

KAI selected SpaceX in an open bidding. Though the launch will take place in the US, many details remain unclear at the moment, including the size of the deal and the type of SpaceX rocket.

The launch of midsize satellite No. 1 in March was conducted by the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute. Starting from the launch of satellite No. 2, which will be the first one in Korea led by the private sector, KAI will be responsible for the development of the four satellites’ system design, body development, manufacture, assembly, test and actual launch.

“KAI’s chief financial officer Kim Jung-ho met with senior SpaceX official in the US in May and discussed SpaceX’s foray into the Asian market, and confirmed the possibility of partnership between the two firms,” a KAI official said.

“Whether SpaceX will launch satellites No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 hasn’t been decided yet,” another KAI official said.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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