KAI partners with Saudi Space Agency to lead new space era
Korea Aerospace Industries looks to venture into space sector in Middle EastBy Kan Hyeong-woo
Published : Oct. 25, 2023 - 15:31
Korea Aerospace Industries has joined hands with the Saudi Space Agency to collaborate on strengthening their partnership in the space sector as part of efforts to lead the expanding space industry in the Middle East.
According to KAI, the chiefs of KAI and SSA on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding in Riyadh. The partnership agreement took place during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to Saudi Arabia, which began Saturday. KAI officials traveled to the Middle Eastern country as members of South Korea’s economic delegation.
“The Middle East region has recently risen as a new strategic market in the aerospace sector,” said KAI CEO Kang Goo-young.
“Starting with this MOU, we will do our best to strengthen the strategic partnership with (Saudi Arabia) and lead the second the second Middle Eastern boom in the space sector.”
KAI said the space cooperation with Saudi Arabia marks the first such collaboration for Korea, noting that it expects to invigorate the private-sector-led technology development, which is a core aspect of the new space era, and stimulate export businesses.
Saudi Arabia has announced long-term plans to boost its space industry in recent years. After establishing the Saudi Space Commission in 2018, the country announced it would invest $2 billion to advance its space programs through 2030 and successfully sent two astronauts into orbit on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft bound for the International Space Station. The launch not only marked the first Saudi astronauts to visit the ISS but also the first Arab astronauts to achieve the feat in almost four decades.
KAI previously laid out the goals to achieve 40 trillion won ($26.7 billion) in annual sales by 2050 and to become the seventh-largest aerospace firm in the world.
Over the last 30 years, the company has dialed up efforts to expand globally, building on the experience and expertise gleaned from participating in government-run space projects to develop mid- to large-sized satellites and space launch vehicles. The company participated in the 74th International Astronautical Congress held in Baku, Azerbaijan, earlier this month, and scored its first satellite exports to the European and Middle Eastern markets.
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