Site: Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
P.O. Box 113, Yusung Post Office
Daejun, 305-600, Korea

Date Visited: June 3 1997

WTEC: J.V. Evans (report author), J. Pelton



The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), was established under the Ministry of Science and Technology in accordance with the Korea Aerospace Promotion Law of 1989 enacted by the Korean government. Its main functions include conducting R&D on satellites, sounding rockets and aircraft, technical support for Korean aerospace industries, and assistance to the government's policy in the aerospace field.

As of 1997, KARI had 285 employees and an annual budget of about $100 million. Like NASA, KARI is involved in both space research and aeronautical studies. For the latter work, the overall testing building, with a structure and flight dynamic laboratory and a propulsion test facility, was constructed in 1995. A low speed wind tunnel was planned for completion in 1997. Space research will be conducted in an Assembly, Integration and Test Center (AITC), which was completed in 1996, and in a planned ground station.

As the international collaboration inherent in aerospace technology is much emphasized, KARI signed MOUs with 15 advanced organizations in the United States, the U.K., France, Russia, China, Israel, and Poland.

KARI has developed a single-stage sounding rocket that was successfully launched twice in 1993 for sounding the vertical distribution of the ozone layer over the Korean peninsula, consecutively developing a two-stage sounding rocket capable of reaching 150 km. KARI has also taken a step towards research into satellite communications with the development of Mission Analysis Software, which is a tool for analyzing satellite orbit, attitude determination and maneuvers. Work is also ongoing in electric power distribution, telemetry, command and ranging subsystems.


The principal project currently underway in KARI is the Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite (KOMPSAT) program. This is seen as a series of multipurpose satellites of which only KOMPSAT 1 has been defined so far. This will be a 500 kg class spacecraft to be launched in 1999. KARI is the program manager for this satellite and will perform the assembly, integration and test of the flight hardware.

KOMPSAT 1 will be an earth resources sensing and scientific experiment satellite. Supporting the KOMPSAT 1 program is TRW in the United States, which will integrate the proto flight model and assist in the integration and test facilities in Taejon. Seven Korean companies are involved in constructing components for KOMPSAT 1, which is to be 60% Korean in content. They are Korean Air, Doowon, Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo, Hyundai, Halla, and Hanwha. Other Korean participants include ETRI, KAIST and several other universities.

In preparation for its role in KOMPSAT 1, KARI has built an impressive suite of clean room facilities, equipped with thermal vacuum chambers of various sizes, vibration and other test facilities.


KARI is the entity in Korea that most closely resembles NASA in the U.S. in that its mission is to perform research in space and aeronautics with a view to assisting Korean industry in those fields. A program of building a series of multipurpose satellites (KOMPSAT) is being undertaken with the intention of securing technology transfer from overseas (principally the U.S.) and providing a vehicle for Korean content.

Published: December 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian