NASA allows S. Korean scientists to participate in development of lunar lander payloads

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : May 7, 2019, 13:07 | Updated : May 7, 2019, 13:07

[Getty Images ]

SEOUL -- South Korean scientists were allowed to participate in NASA's development of a payload system for lunar landers that would be used for a program to land humans on the moon by 2024.

An agreement, signed Tuesday in Seoul between NASA and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASCI), a government-funded body, calls for the creation of a working group involving researchers from both sides to share related knowledge. Details on research fields and budgets would be decided later.

The institute will play a leading role, joined by researchers from other groups such as the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, the Korea Institute of Construction and Technology, the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Technology and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).

NASA officials have said the lunar landing program is not meant to be a redo of the Apollo missions when six two-man crews reached the moon's surface for stays lasting no more than three days. American companies are responsible for developing lunar landers, while NASA will lead international research groups to develop payloads.

South Korea has launched three space rockets, but two fired in 2009 and 2010 failed to reach orbit. The third one using Russian technology put a satellite into orbit. In November last year, a test rocket powered by South Korea's first home-made booster engine was launched successfully.

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