KASA Establishment Slips to 2024

Image: KARI

South Korea has been trying to establish its space agency since March, but the plan keeps running into legislative woes. Now, it’s not looking like the Korean government will be able to welcome KASA into the world before the end of the year.

The country’s Democratic Party holds that the new agency should be an independent organization, while the People’s Party believes it should sit under the Ministry of Science and ICT (Information and Communication Technology). The impasse between the two parties has lasted for months.

South Korea’s space ambitions: President Yoon Suk Yeol has been pushing to provide more support to the country’s burgeoning space economy. The country’s space economy invested 264.8B won (~$197M) in 2021, and its domestic KSLV-II rocket has successfully delivered satellites to orbit three times.

Despite the lack of a functional space agency, South Korea has ambitious plans in the coming years, including a lunar landing by 2032 and a Mars landing in 2045, though it’s unclear how further delay in standing up the space office will affect that timeline.

Delays on delays: KASA’s official establishment has been beset by legislative infighting in South Korea’s parliament since the country signed its creation bill into law back in March. 

  • In July, Yoon warned that the ongoing delays in establishing KASA were hurting the nascent agency’s planned partnerships with NASA.
  • On Sept. 5, Korea’s Science ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee announced a meeting slated for Sept. 25 to discuss the new agency’s creation.
  • Yesterday, that meeting was once again delayed to Oct. 5.

With these delays, even if an agreement was reached at the Oct. 5 meeting, there is a three to six month period set aside for implementing the law. It looks like KASA can kiss 2023 goodbye.

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