May 18, 2021

Korea Aerospace Industries to inject $880 million to space business in the next five years

2 min read

South Korean public aerospace and defense company Korea Aerospace Industries has announced plans to expand its space business in the next half-decade. According to the firm’s executive, KAI will invest 1 trillion won ($880 million) to advance its space sector, including satellite production and data-based services. The company has set aside approximately 2.2 trillion won to broaden its five-year plan. Forty percent of the fund will go into space activities. The other amount will be used to create electric and hydrogen aircraft, air defense electronics, simulations, and software.

The company further revealed it was looking to form collaborations with other companies to develop ground station and satellite imagery services. In a press appearance, the firm’s CEO Ahn Hyun-ho mentioned that the company is looking on other avenues to get profits seeing satellite production is not so profitable. “We have set up a clear vision for our space business. It is something from which we can expect huge profit, but it takes a long time to make it happen. So, we will approach it step by step and carefully,” said Hyun-ho.

The Sacheon-based company’s largest market for satellites is the Southeast Asian region. “We see increasing demand for medium-and large-sized satellites in the region. KAI has ample heritage in satellite development, which would give us a competitive advantage in exporting our satellites to the region,” added Hyun-ho.

KAI was initially formed by Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries, and Hyundai Space and Aircraft Company. In 1997 the Asian financial crisis caused financial constraints among them, and a few members ditched the joint venture and formed an independent company in 1999. Since then, KAI has secured a place in South Korea’s aerospace ambitions.

The firm has also gained satellite building technology from collaborating with Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to develop the CAS500-1 satellite, which launched to space this year aboard a Russian Soyuz-2 space vehicle. KAI is working on a 500 kilogram-class observation satellite, which will be ready by 2025.

KAI has partnered with Korea Advanced Institute and Science and Technology (KAIST) to launch a research center dealing with satellite software. The duo will conduct space-based research on satellite system software, spacecraft, and space mobility. The executive also noted the firm is testing the waters of data-based satellite services to augment its gains. “We will launch a data-based satellite service as soon as possible,” said Hyun-ho. The company has its eyes on Southeast Asia countries as the first market for the new service, based on Airbus’s satellite visuals.

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