News & Notice

Multi-Party MOU Signed for Public-Private Cooperation for the Utilization of Space Resources
  • NameKICT
  • Date2021/12/28 10:20:11
  • Hit103

On September 8, six national research institutes, including the KICT, and Hanwha Aerospace Co. Ltd., met at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) in Daejeon and signed a multi-party MOU for "In-situ resourceutilization (ISRU)", laying the groundwork for cooperation between government agencies and the private sector.

In attendance at the signing ceremony were: KICT President Kim, Byung-suk(Ph.D.); Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) President Park, Hyun-min; Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) Acting President Kim, Kwang-eun; Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) President Lee, Sang-ryul; Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) President Kim, Jong-nam; Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) President Park, Won-seok; and Hanwha Aerospace CEO Shin, Hyun-woo.

Under the MOU, each signing party agreed to: jointly pursue ISRU-related expedition programs, such as the Artemis program; contribute to the joint development of payloads for resource extraction demonstrations; and participate in initial and long-term cooperative efforts for the construction of factories on the Moon and Mars using on-site resources.

ISRU refers to facilities or systems that enable the production of supplies using resources found on planets and satellites in space, such as the Moon or Mars. The use of resources found on site reduces the costs and logistical efforts associated with shipping water, oxygen, solar cells, building materials, projectile fuel, and other supplies from Earth to the building site. As such, ISRU technology is now being emphasized as a core technology that will determine the success of humankind’s endeavors in space. It is also recognized as a technology that must be ready and functional at the start of any space-related projects to ensure their future success.

The Artemis program, one of the projects supported by the MOU, is already underway and aims to send a crew to the Moon by 2024 to "establish a sustainable human presence" there by 2030. So far, 12 countries have formally agreed to participate in the Artemis program. Interest in Moon exploration has risen in Korea following the Korean government's signing of the Artemis Accords in May 2021 and its announcement of plans to build a spacecraft for a Moon landing.