South Korea ends space cooperation with Russia

South Korea is nearing the completion of the process of terminating the contract with Russia for the launch of satellites. International sanctions imposed against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine mean that for a pair of satellites planned to be launched into space by the aggressor country in 2022, South Korea will now look for another transport.

European Vega-C launch vehicle. Image: ESA

South Korea planned to launch two spacecraft — Korea Multipurpose Satellite 6 and the next-generation Compact Advanced Satellite 500-2 medium satellite. It was assumed that these satellites would go into space thanks to Russian launch vehicles. However, due to the reasons mentioned above, partnership between the two countries has become impossible. The Ministry of Science and ICT of South Korea announced this on October 10, based on an official statement published in The Korea Times

The statement says: “Due to the war between Russia and Ukraine and the subsequent international sanctions against Russia, there were uncontrollable circumstances that prevented the use of Russian launch vehicles.”

After that, both countries began negotiations on the termination of the satellite launch contract. Currently, this process is almost completed, but the details of the terms of termination of the contract are not disclosed.

While the process of termination of the contract is being completed, South Korea will launch its spacecraft with other, more reliable partners. The Arirang 6 satellite, also known as Korea Multipurpose Satellite 6, will be launched into orbit by Arianespace’s Vega-C rocket in December 2024. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Science of South Korea received an advantage in the tender for the launch of the CAS 500-02 satellite.

South Korea shows its growing space ambitions by developing its own launch vehicle, called Nuri. This proves the importance of space in the development of the country and its far-sighted plans for the future.

At the same time, Russia has already lost a number of commercial launch contracts and space partners due to the war against Ukraine. This has led to the fact that the aggressor country is looking for new partners for space programs in other countries, such as Iran, which is also under sanctions.

Earlier we reported that South Korea was going to launch a mission to Mars.

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