Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) reported signing an agreement with SpaceX for the launch and orbital dispatch of its medium weight Earth observation satellite scheduled for 2023.
According to the KAI statement, the selection of SpaceX was not only guided by the high success rate and low relative costs of the company, but also by analysis of strategic cooperation options for the regional market.
Kim Jeong-ho, KAI´s CFO Executive Vice President, met with a senior SpaceX official in the US in May and confirmed the possibility of a joint cooperation between KAI and SpaceX.
KAI was the first private company in Korea to be responsible for the development and launch of a new next-generation standard medium weight (500 kg) satellite platform. It is also the only Korean company capable of mastering all satellite production processes, from design, component manufacturing, assembly, as well as testing and certification.
Space is of great importance for the long-term strategy of the South Korean aerospace giant, which seeks to develop the business of satellite image analysis services.
KAI plans to establish a cooperative system with domestic and foreign companies to solidify its position as a leading domestic space company and make the leap as the best aerospace company in Asia.
“We are considering mergers and acquisitions or strategic alliances to analyze satellite imagery and provide high value-added services, such as climate and land (information) management,” said Changheon Han, managing director of KAI’s future business division.
The company finished the construction of the largest private space center in the country, which can simultaneously produce more than 20 ultra-small satellites, through which KAI retains 40% of the value of the Korean space market.