Space agency chief vows to support private sector-led development

Yoon Young-bin, center, administrator nominee of the Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA), speaks during a press conference in Seoul, Thursday, attended by John Lee, left, who will be in charge of research and development programs at the inaugural agency, and Roh Kyung-won, deputy administrator nominee. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

Yoon Young-bin, the administrator nominee of the Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA), said Thursday that the space agency, which will be launched on May 27, will prioritize efforts to empower the private sector in leading commercial space development in the country.“Considering the history of Korea’s space development, which started in the early 1990s, the establishment of KASA is somewhat late, but fortunately, this government has a strong will to open up the country’s future in space, and the opening of KASA is scheduled for May 27,” the nominee said at a press conference in Seoul. “I think it is time for us to leap forward as an aerospace powerhouse with the establishment of KASA.”“Until now, Korea’s space development has been government-led. However, space development around the world has shifted to a private sector-led model and is developing too fast. I think KASA’s role is very important for us to catch up with this trend,” Yoon added.On April 24, President Yoon Suk Yeol appointed the Seoul National University aerospace engineering professor as the inaugural administrator of the space agency.

Additionally, the president appointed John Lee, a retired senior executive from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to lead missions at the agency responsible for space research and development programs. Rho Kyung-won, a senior official at the Ministry of Science and ICT, was appointed as KASA’s deputy administrator.The president has expressed his vision to develop Korea’s aerospace industry and make it the country’s new growth engine through the establishment of KASA.The Korean version of NASA will be headquartered in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, some 300 kilometers south of Seoul. The nominees will officially begin working in their positions after KASA launches on May 27.The administrator nominee emphasized the importance of private sector-led development in the space industry and highlighted KASA’s role in supporting this endeavor. He added that the government is actively considering the criteria and timing for transferring certain responsibilities and projects to appropriate entities within the private sector.

“We want to empower the private sector to take the lead in space development. We want to be the stepping stone for private companies to lead Korea to become a space power,” Yoon said. “While the private sector is still lacking in technology and capabilities, the government’s technology is quite strong, so we will transfer that technology to the private sector so that the government and the private sector can play a balanced role.”Lee, the R&D chief, said he hopes to help KASA contribute to the development of the Korean space industry by bringing the experience he learned at NASA.“I am thinking about how to apply what I have experienced in my 30 years at NASA to KASA. I think we can do well if we adapt it considering Korean culture rather than making it the same as NASA. When I looked at Korea’s technical expertise, I felt that we could do it well,” Lee said.He added that it’s important for KASA to set a standard that lays out specific criteria for the Korean space industry.“If the private sector, the government and universities are all working on projects with different standards, it’s hard for them to work together. Like NASA, KASA will define a 슬롯놀이터 requirement standard and allow projects to be carried out according to it,” he said.

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