By: Jennifer Hong Whetsell and Alice Cho | THE DIPLOMAT |
These were the words of South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol on June 30, 2022, after the country launched its first domestically-built rocket, the Nuri (KSLV-II), into orbit, becoming the seventh state in the world to successfully launch a payload greater than one ton. This milestone, Yoon hopes, is the first of many on South Korea’s path to becoming a major space power.
In space, Yoon believes, lies South Korea’s future prosperity. And he’s not wrong. According to McKinsey, the global space industry is set to grow to 1 trillion dollars by 2040, and many nations and businesses are already buying in.
But behind Yoon’s vision lies the real challenge. He needs to solidify programs, institutions, and funds to last beyond his time in office, while he has the power to spearhead such efforts. But simultaneously, Yoon must overcome the capability gap facing South Korea and generate lasting public support. …
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