South Korea on June 18 mentioned that the country is planning to manufacture over 100 miniature satellites over the next decade. This certainly is a long-drawn plan as the country has the issue of national security in mind. The country made it explicit that their aim to develop such satellites is mainly for establishing a national security monitoring system, and also to test its next-generation network communications so that the country can strengthen its space industry, following China and the US. South Korea has planned to launch its very first lunar orbiter next year.
South Korea’s Ministry of Science is mainly concerned with its decade-long space plan. The Ministry said that this department along with ICT would pursue the development of such satellites so that the country can encourage the private sector of the country to get involved in the space industry. Ministry of Science also mentioned that the mini-satellites are primarily cost-effective, in the sense that they can be manufactured in a short amount of time at a low cost.
It is not that South Korea’s space program is non-existent, rather their entire space program has been driven by large-scale state-led projects, such as the launch of its first homegrown space rocket slated for October this year. The new project involving the mini-satellites led by the private sector would include optical and radar observation of the Korean Peninsula along with testing satellite communications network technology.
As part of its program, the country is aiming to launch 14 low earth orbit communications satellites by 2031 to establish a satellite communications network along with facilitating research and developing 6G technology. The low orbit satellites will also be engaged in testing autonomous ship control systems and marine traffic services.
Furthermore, the country is also planning to develop 22 more satellites by 2028, and the Ministry of Science mentioned that these satellites will deal with observing radio wave activity in space. By 2031, the country is hoping to add 13 more satellites to the fleet which could perhaps be capable of autonomous operation and remove space trash.