South Korea creates new KASA space agency, sets sights on the moon and Mars

an image of the moon with a round red-white-and-blue swirl over it. korean characters are beneath the logo
The logo of Korea's new Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA) against an image of the moon. (Image credit: Carole La Vigne/500px/Getty Images/KASA)

South Korea is aiming to expand its presence in space.

The nation is targeting landing on Mars by 2045, the country's president announced at the launch of its national space agency. President Yoon Suk Yeol inaugurated the Korea Aerospace Administration (KASA) on Thursday, May 30, Reuters reported. The agency will oversee space policy and seek to foster space-related enterprises.

"KASA will usher in a new space era by cultivating experts while intensively supporting the aerospace industry ecosystem and fostering challenging and innovative R&D," Yoon said. 

Related: SpaceX launches South Korea's 1st-ever moon mission, lands rocket at sea

The country will commit to spending 100 trillion won ($72.6 billion) on space up until a planned Mars landing mission in 2045, according to the report. A number of countries are committing to becoming emerging space powers, with investment in space seen to promise innovation and growth.

South Korea is already active in space. It has a satellite, named Danuri, in orbit around the moon, providing images and data that could assist NASA's Artemis program. It has developed a fully homegrown launch vehicle, named Nuri, and the country is targeting its first robotic lunar landing by 2032.

The establishment of KASA and the lunar and Martian plans echo a rise in Asian space ambitions. India (Chandrayaan 3), Japan (SLIM) and most recently China, with Chang'e-6, have all successfully landed on the moon within the last year. 

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Andrew Jones
Contributing Writer

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.