Korea has announced a plan to invest 480 billion won ($362.3 million) by 2030 to develop its own version of the Starlink network using low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The government aims to enhance research and development in satellite communication and will apply for a preliminary feasibility test in September to establish a test bed LEO satellite network.
Specifically, the government has allocated 11.1 billion won for the research and development budget of core technologies used in network terminals and ground stations for the upcoming year. Additionally, a 480-billion-won program for LEO satellite technology development will be implemented from 2025 to 2030.
The objective of this plan is to elevate Korea’s technological capabilities in LEO satellite communication from the current 85 percent level, compared to leading nations worldwide, to 90 percent by 2030. Furthermore, the government aims to achieve $3 billion in satellite communication exports by the same year.
LEO satellites, which operate between 500 to 1,500 kilometers (311 to 932 miles) above the Earth’s surface, offer benefits such as ultralow latency and high-speed internet connections due to their close proximity to the Earth compared to geostationary satellites positioned 36,000 kilometers above.
The Ministry of Science and ICT plans to establish a collaborative body called the “K-LEO Alliance” by 2024. This initiative will involve public and private entities, including the government, military, and private companies, to review the feasibility of securing a domestic LEO communication network in the long run.
Furthermore, the government is considering allocating a spectrum for satellite communication based on international precedents and industrial practices.
Science Minister Lee Jong-ho emphasized that the goal is to replicate Korea’s past success in contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMA) and to secure the next-generation network service for Korea’s digital future.
(Source: JoongAng Daily)