South Korea’s second space launch attempt proved unsuccessful when a rocket exploded just after lift-off. World Politics Review interviewed the Center of New American Security Fellow, Abe Denmark, about some of the progress and problems South Korea’s space program has had:
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WPR: What is the current state of South Korea’s space program?
Abe Denmark: To date, the ROK’s satellite development program has been rather successful. Its National Space Program, most recently updated in 2005, calls for an ambitious program including the development of 13 satellites by 2010 and the ability to lift a 1.5 ton satellite into low-earth orbit (LEO) by 2015. South Korea’s first indigenously produced satellite, KOMPSAT-1, was launched in 1999 aboard a Russian-produced rocket. Since then, Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has launched several advanced communications, imaging, and weather satellites.
In contrast to its satellite program, the ROK’s rocket program has been to date a disappointment. South Korea is largely dependent on foreign — often Russian — launching platforms.