Korea Aerospace Research Institute
Agency overview
Formed10 October 1989; 34 years ago (1989-10-10)
TypeSpace agency
HeadquartersDaejeon, South Korea
MottoAerius Spatium[1]
AdministratorLee Sang-Ryool[2]
Primary spaceportNaro Space Center
OwnerNational Research Council of Science & Technology
Annual budget615 billion
(US$553.1 million)
WebsiteOfficial KARI website in English
Official KARI website in Korean
Korea Aerospace Research Institute
Revised RomanizationHanguk Hanggong Uju Yeonguweon
McCune–ReischauerHan'guk Hanggong Uju Yŏn'guwŏn

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI; Korean한국항공우주연구원; Hanja韓國航空宇宙研究院; RRHanguk Hanggong Uju Yeonguweon), established in 1989, is the aeronautics and space agency of South Korea. Its main laboratories are located in Daejeon, in the Daedeok Science Town. KARI's vision is to continue building upon indigenous launch capabilities, strengthen national safety and public service, industrialize satellite information and applications technology, explore the Moon, and develop environmentally-friendly and highly-efficient cutting-edge aircraft and core aerospace technology. Current projects include the KSLV-2 launcher. Past projects include the 1999 Arirang-1 satellite. The agency was founded in 1989. Prior to South Korea's entry into the Institute for Advanced Engineering (IAE) in 1992, it focused primarily on aerospace technology. As of May 2024, KARI is an affiliated research institute of the Korea AeroSpace Administration.[4]


See also: South Korean space program

Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite COMS-I

KARI began on October 10, 1989, as a national aerospace research institute with the purpose of contributing to sound development of the national economy and enhancement of people's lives through a new exploration, technological advancement, development, and dissemination in the field of aerospace science and technology.[5]


KARI Headquarters in Daejeon


See also: KARI KSR-1, KARI KSR-2, and KARI KSR-3

Liquid propulsion science rocket KARI KSR-3

KARI is also developing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, high-altitude airships, a next-generation multi-purpose helicopter project, next- generation medium satellite, and a lunar exploration project. In addition, several satellites, including the KOMPSAT (also known as Arirang) Series, the COMS (Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite), and the STSAT (Science and Technology Satellite), are developed, operated, or under development by KARI. On January 30, 2013, they launched a satellite into space from their own soil for the first time.[8]

KARI began in 1989 to develop its own rockets (KSR, Korean Sounding Rocket). It produced the KSR-I and KSR-II, one and two-stage rockets in the early 1990s.

In December 1997 it began development of a LOX/kerosene rocket engine. KARI wished to develop satellite launch capability. A test launch of the KSR-III took place in 2002.[9]

The first-stage unguided rocket KSR-I was produced by KARI in cooperation with research institutes such as industry, academia, and research institutes for the development of rockets. R&D took place for three years from 1990, and the total development cost was 2.85 billion won. Their goal was to develop a solid unguided science tube survey rocket that could observe the ozone layer over the Korean Peninsula.[10]

Earth observation program

KSLV-1 launched on August 25, 2009. It was originally a cluster of indigenous liquid KSR-III rockets with a solid propellant to form a multistage launcher. However, KARI experienced more difficulties than expected in SLV development, because it required much stronger propellant power than KSR-III possessed to launch a satellite into orbit.[11] After several failed attempts, KARI turned to Russia's Khrunichev Design Bureau for assistance in developing a liquid-propellant rocket engine for the KSLV-1 as well as for cooperation in the construction of the launch facility at the Naro Space Center. The first stage of the launcher was derived from the Russian URM-1 (Universal Rocket Module) developed by Khrunichev. The second stage of the launcher was a solid Kick Motor developed by Korea, which included the Inertial Navigation System; the power, control, and flight safety systems; plus the nose fairing.[11] South Korea launched its next rocket, the KSLV-2 in 2021. The first stage of KSLV-II has 4 clustered engines, each of which has a 75 metric ton thrust. All three stages use indigenously developed rocket engines.

Active Missions: KSLV-1, KSLV-2, Koreasat, ANASIS-II

Satellite program


The KAIST's SaTReC, responsible for the nation's small scientific satellites.[12][13]

KARI satellites[14] Type Equipment Orbit Operational Status
KOMPSAT 1 (Arirang 1) Earth observation EO SSO
KOMPSAT 2 (Arirang 2) Earth observation EO SSO
KOMPSAT 3 (Arirang 3) Earth observation EO SSO
KOMPSAT 3A (Arirang 3A) Earth observation EO/IR SSO
KOMPSAT 5 (Arirang 5) Earth observation SAR SSO
KOMPSAT 6 (Arirang 6) Earth observation SAR SSO
KOMPSAT 7 (Arirang 7) Earth observation EO/IR SSO
KOMPSAT 7A (Arirang 7A) Earth observation EO/IR SSO
CAS 500-1 (Compact Advanced Satellite 500) Earth observation EO SSO
CAS 500-2 (Compact Advanced Satellite 500) Earth observation EO SSO
GEO-KOMPSAT 1 (COMS 1, Cheollian 1) Meteorology / Communication Meteo Imager, Ocean colour Imager, S-/L-Band transponder, Ka-band transponders GEO
GEO-KOMPSAT 2A (GK 2A, Cheollian 2A) Meteorology AMI (Advanced Meteorological Imager) and KSEM (Korean Space Environment Monitor) GEO
GEO-KOMPSAT 2B (GK 2B, Cheollian 2B) Meteorology GOCI-II (Geostationary Ocean Color Imager-II) and GEMS (Environmental monitoring sensor) GEO
KPLO (Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter) Interplanetary Spacecraft LUTI, PolCam, KMAG, KGRS, DTNPL, ShadowCam Lunar orbiter

Korea Positioning System (KPS)

South Korea plans to spend 4 trillion won ($3.56 billion) on building its own Regional Navigation Satellite System (RNSS), named Korean Positioning System (KPS). It plans launching seven new satellites by 2035 — three into geosynchronous orbit and four into inclined geosynchronous orbit.[15][16] South Korea and the U.S. signed an agreement on “civil global navigation satellite systems cooperation,” under which the U.S. will support South Korea developing KPS. The two governments plan to work together to ensure compatibility and enhance interoperability of GPS and KPS for civil purposes.[17]

Lunar and interplanetary missions

Korean Lunar Exploration Program

Main article: Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter


The Korean Lunar Exploration Program (KLEP) is divided in two phases.[18][19] Phase 1 incorporates the launch and operation of a lunar orbiter called Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), which will be the first lunar probe by South Korea,[20] meant to develop and enhance South Korea's technological capabilities, as well as map natural resources from orbit. In December 2016, KARI signed a lunar exploration technical cooperation with NASA which increased the possibility of exploration success greatly. Phase 2 will include a lunar orbiter, a lunar lander, and a rover[21] to be launched together on a KSLV-II South Korean rocket from the Naro Space Center,[22][18] by 2030.[23][24]

KPLO will fly 100 kilometers above the moon to carry out a lunar observation mission. The project will be carried out by KARI in charge of the system, the main body of the orbiter, and the ground station, and South Korean universities and research institutes will cooperate together.[25]


Stratospheric airship

A 10-year program to develop a stratospheric airship for telecommunication relays and ground observations at 20 km altitude has started in December 2000.[26][27]

Smart Tilt Rotor UAV

In late 2011, KARI unveiled its tiltrotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can fly at around 400 km/h.[28]

High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

KARI is developing an electric-driven HALE UAV in order to secure system and operational technologies since 2010.[29]

Optionally Piloted Personal Air Vehicle (OPPAV)

KARI leads the research and development program to develop a one-seat class electric VTOL (eVTOL) demonstrator. Flight tests of a sub-scale technology demonstrator will be started by 2021.[30][31]

Future missions

Launch schedule

FY 2024

FY 2025

FY 2026

FY 2027

FY 2028

FY 2029

FY 2030


See also


  1. ^ Latin for "Aerospace" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "한국과학기술정보연구원, 한국항공우주연구원 신임 원장 선임". 22 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Government Finalizes the 2021 Space Development Implementation Plan". kari.re.kr. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  4. ^ 배민영 (8 January 2024). "'한국판 나사' 우주항공청, 과기부에 설치… 항우연·천문연도 편입". Segye Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 4 June 2024.
  5. ^ Greeting address. (2016). Korea Aerospace Research Institute. retrieved from https://www.kari.re.kr/eng/sub01_01.do
  6. ^ "History". Korea Aerospace Research Institute. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Organization". KARI.
  8. ^ "South Korea launches rocket weeks after NKorea". The San Diego Union-Tribune. January 30, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  9. ^ Cho, Gwang-Rae; Park, Jeong-Joo; Chung, Eui-Seung; Hwang, Seung-Hyun (2008). "The Korean Sounding Rocket Program". Acta Astronautica. 62 (12): 706–714. Bibcode:2008AcAau..62..706C. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2008.01.035.
  10. ^ "KSR-I, single-stage science rocket". KARI.
  11. ^ a b An, H. (2013). Seeking independence in space: South korea's space program (1958–2010). Quest: History Of Spaceflight, 20(2), 34–51.
  12. ^ "STSat-1 (Science and Technology Satellite-1, KAISTSat-4, Uribyol-4)". esa.int.
  13. ^ "About the Satellite Technology Research Center". satrec.kaist.ac.kr.
  14. ^ "Satellites of South Korea". space.skyrocket.de.
  15. ^ "South Korea signs Artemis Accords; Brazil, New Zealand likely next". www.spacenews.com. 27 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Satellite Navigation > R&D >". www.kari.re.kr. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Joint Statement By The United States of America And The Republic of Korea On Civil Global Navigation Satellite Systems Cooperation". www.gps.gov.
  18. ^ a b Korean Lunar Exploration Program. Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). Accessed on 25 January 2019.
  19. ^ SpaceX selected to assist 2020 South Korean lunar orbiter voyage. Lee Keun-young, Hankyoreh. 30 December 2017.
  20. ^ KPLO. Lunar Exploration Program. Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). Accessed on 25 January 2019.
  21. ^ Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) Status Update. (PDF) Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). 10 October 2017.
  22. ^ South Korea's first lunar mission planned for 2020. Emily Lakdawalla, The Planetary Society. December 7, 2017.
  23. ^ Pak, Han-pyol (1 July 2013). "핵전지 실은 한국형 로버 … 지구서 우주인터넷 통해 조종". 중앙일보. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  24. ^ Kim, Jack (20 November 2007). "South Korea eyes moon orbiter in 2020, landing 2025". Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  25. ^ "The Lunar Exploration Project, the Korean Hope Project". KARI.
  26. ^ "Korea Aerospace Research Institute". www.airship-association.org.
  27. ^ "South Korea's Stratospheric Airship" (PDF). www.lynceans.org.
  28. ^ "KARI starts VTOL UAV research without Bell". www.flightglobal.com.
  29. ^ "Korea's First Solar Unmanned Aerial Vehicle EAV-3 Launched". www.solarmagazine.com. 27 August 2016.
  30. ^ "KARI OPPAV". www.evtol.news.
  31. ^ "Korea Launches Project To Develop EVTOL Demo". www.aviationweek.com.