[June 2nd] South Korea targets Mars mission with new center

South Korea aims to make a Mars landing by 2045, President Yoon Suk Yeol said Thursday, outlining plans to spend about $70 billion over the coming decades on space exploration.

The newly created Korea Aerospace Administration (KASA) will lead the drive to make the land of K-pop a new space powerhouse, following the United States, Russia and China.

“I have always believed that there is an infinite dream and future in outer space,” Yoon said on Thursday.

“KASA will strive to land a homegrown probe on the moon by 2032 and plant the Taegeukgi (South Korean flag) on Mars by 2045,” he said.

South Korea sent up its first lunar orbiter, Danuri, in 2022 on a SpaceX Falcon rocket.

It also successfully launched its homegrown Nuri rocket and placed working satellites into orbit last year after two failed attempts.

Seoul is now gearing up for its fourth launch of the Nuri rocket in the second half of 2025.

Modeled after the United States NASA, KASA says it will act as an “aerospace control tower”, overseeing aerospace policy, satellite development and space missions, including moon exploration.

Key projects will include expanding South Korea’s participation in Artemis 3, an American-led mission which aims to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2026.

The research and development program at the agency will be led by John Lee, who spent 30 years with NASA and was last a senior adviser at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Yoon vowed to “expand the space development budget by 1.5 trillion won (US$1.1 billion) by 2027” — which would be double the current space budget.

Source: VN Express