Encyclopedia Astronautica
Korea South



zksrlvs1.jpg
S Korean LVs
South Korean indigneous rockets.
Credit: © Mark Wade
zksrlvs2.jpg
S Korean LVs
South Korean space launch vehicles, including Russian Angara-derived vehicles.
Credit: © Mark Wade
South Korea became familiar with large-scale rocketry through maintenance and modification activities on American-supplied Honest John and Nike Hercules tactical missiles. By the 1990's Korea had developed an independent capability to manufacture solid propellant rocket motors of up to one tonne mass. In 1990 KARI was funded to build the first indigenous sounding rockets, flown as the KSR-I and KSR-II. In December 1997 KARI was allowed to proceed with development of liquid oxygen/kerosene rocket motor for an orbital launcher, but this was abandoned when the South Korean government decided it wanted to be among the top ten spacefaring nations by 2015. The existing program was too limited in growth potential to allow that. Therefore it was decided to leapfrog the technology by contracting with Russian companies. First launch of the KSLV-I launch vehicle from the new space centre took place in 2010.

South Korean soldiers became familiar with large-scale rocketry through maintenance and modification activities on American-supplied Honest John and Nike Hercules tactical missiles. By the 1990's Korea had developed an independent capability to manufacture solid propellant rocket motors of up to one tonne mass. The first military application was a Korean modification of the Nike Hercules surface-to-air missile. A new Korean-made monolithic booster stage was introduced, which, together with a modified guidance system, produced a surface-to-surface missile of around 400 km range.

In 1990 KARI was funded to build the first indigenous sounding rocket, using a solid motor of roughly the same weight but a more slender aspect ration and longer burn time. One and two-stage versions of the rocket were flown in the 1990's as the KSR-I and KSR-II. In December 1997 KARI was allowed to proceed with development of liquid oxygen/kerosene rocket motor of 12.5 tonnes thrust. This was the same size as that built for the American Vanguard, and the intent was to build a minim satellite launch vehicle. A single test launch of the planned modular booster stage took place as the KSR-III in 2002. It was then planned to launch a satellite booster by 2005, but the South Korean government decided it wanted to be among the top ten spacefaring nations by 2015, and the existing program was too limited in growth potential to allow that.

Therefore it was decided to leapfrog the technology by contracting with Russian companies to assist in building a new space launch centre at Doheung on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, together with a large space launch vehicle based on the Khrunichev Angara modular booster. This multi-billion dollar program got underway with some indirection in 2004. First launch of the KSLV-I launch vehicle from the new space centre was scheduled for 2007, with completion of the spaceport and launch of a 1500 kg South Korean satellite into sun-synchronous orbit by 2015.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Ko San Ko San (1976-) Korean scientist cosmonaut, 2006-2008. More...
  • Yi So-yeon Yi So-yeon (1978-) Korean engineer cosmonaut. Flew on ISS EP-14. First Korean in space. More...

Associated Spacecraft
  • Kitsat South Korean technology satellite. 2 launches, 1993.09.26 (Oscar 23) to 1999.05.26 (Kitsat-3). South Korean indigenous 50-kg-class small satellite series, developed originally with technology transfer from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. More...
  • KOMPSAT South Korean communications technology satellite. One launch, 1999.12.21. KOMPSAT was the first joint spacecraft development project for the South Korean aerospace agency KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute). More...
  • STSat South Korean technology satellite. First launch 2003.09.27. More...
  • KOMPSAT-2 South Korean civilian surveillance satellite. One launch, 2006.07.28, Kompsat 2. More...
  • Arirang South Korean civilian surveillance satellite. Study 2015. South Korean indigenously-designed, multipurpose 1500 kg sun-synchronous orbit satellite, to be lofted by KSLV-III by 2015. More...

Associated Engines
  • KSR-3 Korean Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. In development. Launch thrust 122.5 kN. Pressure-fed indigenous design. First flight 2002. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • KSR-I First South Korean sounding rocket, an unguided single solid propellant stage vehicle. Development began in 1990 and the rocket was flown two times in 1993. More...
  • KSR South Korean indigenous sounding and test rocket family, using solid rocket motors and a test vehicle with a liquid oxygen/kerosene motor. Further development of the latter into the KSLV satellite launch vehicle was abandoned in 2005 in favor of licensed Russian technology. More...
  • KSR-II Two-stage South Korean sounding rocket, using two of the solid rocket motors developed for the KSR-I in tandem. Flown twice in 1997-1998. More...
  • KSR-III South Korean sounding rocket. Test bed for development of an orbital launch vehicle, powered by the liquid oxygen/kerosene engine planned for the KSLV-I. However flown only once in 2002. More...
  • KSLV-I 2002 South Korean orbital launch vehicle. In 2002 South Korea announced it was planning to develop a small satellite launch vehicle by 2005, based on technology flown on the KSR-III test vehicle. By 2005 this was replaced by a completely different design, based on the Russian Angara space booster. More...
  • KSLV-I In 2005 it was announced that the KSLV-I would not fly until 2007. It was now a completely different vehicle, consisting of a first stage derived from the Russian Angara launch vehicle, and a solid propellant second stage of South Korean manufacture. First launch 2009.08.25. More...
  • KSLV South Korean launch vehicle family. Originally they were to be of completely indigenous design; but in 2005 it was announced that they would use the (in-development, unflown) Russian Angara booster module as the basis. The program, like that of the Angara, was subject to continuous funding shortages and schedule delays. In 2008 the Angara alternate was cancelled after Russia refused to transfer essential technologies and the total cost had increased from US$ 240 million to US$ 350 million. The Korean government went 'back to the drawing board'. More...
  • KSLV-III South Korean launch vehicle, to consist of a Russian Angara first stage, a South Korean liquid propellant second stage, and a South Korean solid propellant apogee kick motor. Scheduled for first flight by 2015. In August 2006 the Korean press reported that the first and second stages would both be Angara-UM modules... how this configuration would work (stacked versus parallel) was unclear. More...
  • KSLV-II South Korean launch vehicle, originally scheduled for first flight by 2010. Evidently it would have consisted of a Russian Angara first stage and a South Korean liquid-propellant second stage. In August 2006 it was reported in the Korean press that this launcher configuration was cancelled. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • KAIST South Korean manufacturer of spacecraft. Korea Advanced Institute for Space Technology, Korea South. More...
  • KARI South Korean agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Korea South. More...
  • KT South Korean agency. Korea Technology, Korea South. More...

Associated Programs
  • Oscar Amateur radio satellite network. For over a third of a century a series of OSCAR satellites have been launched in a variety of configurations and by many nations. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Anhueng South Korean sounding rocket launch site, used from June 1993, known to have been used for 5 launches from 1993 to 2002, reaching up to 150 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Goheung South Korean space center, built on Woenaro Island, off the Goheung peninsula, at the southern end of the Korean peninsula. The space center would be built in four phases through 2015 on a 4.95 million square meter landfill on the shore of the island. More...

Associated Stages
  • KSR-1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,000/100 kg. Thrust 86.20 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 250 seconds. All values except thrust estimated. More...
  • KSR-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 5,000/700 kg. Thrust 122.50 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 280 seconds. All values except thrust estimated. More...

Korea South Chronology


1976 October 19 - .
  • Birth of Ko San - . Nation: Korea South. Summary: Korean scientist cosmonaut, 2006-2008..

1978 June 2 - .
  • Birth of Yi So-yeon - . Nation: Korea South. Summary: Korean engineer cosmonaut. Flew on ISS EP-14. First Korean in space..

1992 August 10 - . 23:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 42P. LV Configuration: Ariane 42P V52.
  • Oscar 23 - . Payload: Kitsat-A. Mass: 50 kg (110 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KAIST. Manufacturer: Surrey. Program: Oscar. Class: Communications. Type: Amateur radio communications satellite. Spacecraft: MicroSat-70. USAF Sat Cat: 22077 . COSPAR: 1992-052B. Apogee: 1,322 km (821 mi). Perigee: 1,310 km (810 mi). Inclination: 66.1000 deg. Period: 111.90 min. Summary: Korean's first satellite achieved via a technology transfer programme with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. Carried store and forward communications, DSP and Earth observation payloads. Still operational in 2000..

1993 June 4 - . Launch Site: Anhueng. LV Family: KSR. Launch Vehicle: KSR-I. LV Configuration: KSR-I-1.
  • Ozone profile mission - . Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Apogee: 39 km (24 mi). Summary: Ultraviolet radiometer to measure vertical ozone distribution in the stratosphere over the Korean peninsula. Rocket performance also monitored..

1993 September 1 - . Launch Site: Anhueng. LV Family: KSR. Launch Vehicle: KSR-I. LV Configuration: KSR-I-2.
  • Ozone profile mission - . Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Apogee: 49 km (30 mi). Summary: Ultraviolet radiometer to measure vertical ozone distribution in the stratosphere over the Korean peninsula. Rocket performance also monitored..

1993 September 26 - . 01:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 40. LV Configuration: Ariane 40 V59.
  • Kitsat-2 - . Payload: Oscar 25. Mass: 49 kg (108 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KAIST. Program: Oscar. Class: Communications. Type: Amateur radio communications satellite. Spacecraft: Kitsat. USAF Sat Cat: 22825 . COSPAR: 1993-061C. Apogee: 801 km (497 mi). Perigee: 790 km (490 mi). Inclination: 98.3000 deg. Period: 100.80 min. KITSAT-OSCAR 25 was a South Korean experimental microsatellite based on the SSTL UoSAT bus built by the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). KO-25 was operated from The Satellite Technology Research Center (SaTReC) in South Korea. KO-25's mission was to take CCD pictures, process numerical information, measure radiation, and receive and forward messages. The Infrared Sensor Experiment (IREX) was designed to acquire I/V characteristics of IR sensors. A passive cooling structure was devised for this experiment. KO-25 was eventually operated purely as a packet store-and-forward satellite.

1994 September 19 - .
  • Kompsat contract - . Nation: Korea South. Spacecraft: KOMPSAT. Summary: TRW and Korean engineers would work together to develop the spacecraft. KOMPSAT was based on TRW's Eagle class of light weight, modular spacecraft..

1995 August 5 - . 11:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925. LV Configuration: Delta 7925 D228. FAILURE: Partial Failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Mugunghwa 1 - . Payload: Koreasat 1. Mass: 1,459 kg (3,216 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KT. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Program: Koreasat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: AS 3000. USAF Sat Cat: 23639 . COSPAR: 1995-041A. Apogee: 35,796 km (22,242 mi). Perigee: 35,776 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 2.7000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. 15 Ku-band transponders; boosted into geosynch orbit by satellite thrusters following Delta failure that left satellite in LEO; unplanned use of satellite propellant cut usable satellite lifetime by approx. 50 percent. Stationed at 116.0 deg E. Stage 1 SRM failure Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 116 deg E in 1995-1999 As of 5 September 2001 located at 47.22 deg E drifting at 0.022 deg E per day. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 152.88E drifting at 2.155W degrees per day.

1996 January 14 - . 11:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925. LV Configuration: Delta 7925 D231.
  • Koreasat 2 - . Mass: 600 kg (1,320 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KT. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Program: Koreasat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: AS 3000. Completed Operations Date: 2000-04-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 23768 . COSPAR: 1996-003A. Apogee: 35,792 km (22,240 mi). Perigee: 35,782 km (22,233 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Summary: Geostationary at 116.0E. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 116 deg E in 1996-2000 As of 5 September 2001 located at 113.02 deg E drifting at 0.017 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 116.35E drifting at 0.013W degrees per day..

1997 July 9 - . Launch Site: Anhueng. LV Family: KSR. Launch Vehicle: KSR-II. LV Configuration: KSR-II-1.
  • X-ray astronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi). Summary: Measured the vertical distribution of ozone using an ultraviolet radiometer..

1998 June 11 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Anhueng. LV Family: KSR. Launch Vehicle: KSR-II. LV Configuration: KSR-II-2.
  • X-ray astronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Apogee: 137 km (85 mi). Summary: Measured the vertical distribution of ozone using an ultraviolet radiometer..

1999 May 26 - . 06:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Sriharikota. Launch Complex: Sriharikota PSLV. LV Family: PSLV. Launch Vehicle: PSLV. LV Configuration: PSLV-C2.
  • Kitsat-3 - . Nation: Korea South. Agency: ISRO. Manufacturer: KAIST. Class: Earth. Type: Seismology satellite. Spacecraft: Kitsat. USAF Sat Cat: 25756 . COSPAR: 1999-029A. Apogee: 727 km (451 mi). Perigee: 707 km (439 mi). Inclination: 98.6000 deg. Period: 99.10 min.

1999 September 4 - . 22:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 42P. LV Configuration: Ariane 42P-3 V120.
  • Koreasat 3 - . Payload: Mugunghwa 3. Nation: Korea South. Agency: KT. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Program: Koreasat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: AS 2100. USAF Sat Cat: 25894 . COSPAR: 1999-046A. Apogee: 35,792 km (22,240 mi). Perigee: 35,782 km (22,233 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Geosynchronous communications satellite. Stationed at 112 deg E. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 112 deg E in 1999. As of 31 August 2001 located at 115.99 deg E drifting at 0.014 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 116.12E drifting at 0.008W degrees per day.

1999 December 21 - . 07:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576E. LV Family: Pegasus. Launch Vehicle: Taurus 2110. LV Configuration: Taurus 2110 T4.
  • Kompsat - . Payload: Arirang. Mass: 470 kg (1,030 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Manufacturer: KAIST. Class: Earth. Type: Sea satellite. Spacecraft: KOMPSAT. USAF Sat Cat: 26032 . COSPAR: 1999-070A. Apogee: 677 km (420 mi). Perigee: 670 km (410 mi). Inclination: 97.8000 deg. Period: 98.20 min. Korean Multipurpose Satellite; carried an ocean color sensor developed by TRW and particle detectors. KOMPSAT was built by the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) based on a test model built by TRW; it used the TRW STEP Lightsat bus and had a mass of around 500 kg, with 73 kg of hydrazine fuel.

2002 November 28 - . 05:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Anhueng. LV Family: KSR. Launch Vehicle: KSR-III. LV Configuration: KSR-I-1.
  • KSR-III Launch Vehicle Technology Test / Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Apogee: 43 km (26 mi). The rocket reached 42 km altitude and a speed of 902 meters per second. It impacted in the West Sea 85 km from the coastal launch site, 231 seconds after launch. In preparation for the launch, KARI and related agencies successfully carried out ignition tests in May and August.

2003 September 27 - . 06:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC132/1. LV Family: Kosmos 3. Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 11K65M. LV Configuration: Kosmos 11K65M 103.
  • STSat 1 (KaistSat 4, Uribyol 4) - . Mass: 100 kg (220 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KAIST. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: STSat. USAF Sat Cat: 27939 . COSPAR: 2003-042A. Apogee: 696 km (432 mi). Perigee: 676 km (420 mi). Inclination: 98.2000 deg. Period: 98.50 min. Summary: Launch delayed from July 28, September 26. Payloads included the FUV Imaging Spectrograph (FIMS); Solid State Telescope (SST); Data Collection System (DCS); and Narrow Angle Star Sensor (NAST)..

2006 July 28 - . 07:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC133/3. LV Family: UR-100N. Launch Vehicle: Rokot. LV Configuration: Rokot s/n 9.
  • Kompsat 2 - . Payload: Arirang-2. Mass: 798 kg (1,759 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Manufacturer: EADS Astrium. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: KOMPSAT-2. USAF Sat Cat: 29268 . COSPAR: 2006-031A. Apogee: 701 km (435 mi). Perigee: 676 km (420 mi). Inclination: 98.1000 deg. Period: 98.50 min. Summary: Carried a 1-meter-resolution Earth surveillance camera...

2006 August 22 - . 03:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiritimati. Launch Pad: 0.0 N x 154.0 W. Launch Platform: ODYSSEY. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-3SL. LV Configuration: Zenit-3SL 22/DM-SL-23L.
  • Koreasat 5 - . Payload: Mugunghwa 5, Spacebus 4000C1. Mass: 4,465 kg (9,843 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KT. Manufacturer: Alenia. Program: Koreasat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: Spacebus 4000. USAF Sat Cat: 29349 . COSPAR: 2006-034A. Apogee: 35,795 km (22,241 mi). Perigee: 35,780 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Summary: The satellite will was to provide Ku-band service for Korea Telecom and Ka-band and SHF band transponders for the South Korean Agency for Defense Development. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 113.05E drifting at 0.012W degrees per day..

2009 August 25 - . 08:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Goheung. LV Family: KSLV. Launch Vehicle: KSLV-I. LV Configuration: Naro KSLV-1. FAILURE: First and second stages operated correctly, but half of payload fairing failed to separate. Extra mass prevented the second stage and payload from reaching orbital velocity, and the satellite reentered over New Guinea..
2010 June 10 - . 18:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Goheung. LV Family: KSLV. Launch Vehicle: KSLV-I. LV Configuration: Naro-1. FAILURE: First stage failure..
  • STSAT-2B - . Mass: 99 kg (218 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: KARI. Class: Technology. Type: Technology satellite. Spacecraft: STSAT. Summary: Science and Technology Satellite with Lyman-alpha imaging solar telescope and laser altimeter..

2010 June 26 - . 21:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA.
  • Coms 1 - . Mass: 2,400 kg (5,200 lb). Nation: Korea South. Agency: Arianespace. Class: Communications. Type: Communications satellite. Spacecraft: Eurostar 3000. USAF Sat Cat: 36744 . COSPAR: 2010-032A. Apogee: 35,789 km (22,238 mi). Perigee: 35,783 km (22,234 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite. Weather, oceanography, and communications payloads..

2010 December 29 - . 21:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA. LV Configuration: Ariane 5ECA s/n V199.
  • Koreasat 6 - . Payload: Star-2. Mass: 2,850 kg (6,280 lb). Nation: Korea South. Program: Koreasat. Class: Communications. Type: Communications satellite. Spacecraft: Star bus. USAF Sat Cat: 37265 . COSPAR: 2010-070B. Apogee: 35,827 km (22,261 mi). Perigee: 35,783 km (22,234 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,437.00 min. Summary: Ku band communications; 2850 kg loaded / 1150 kg unfuelled..

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use