Space launch vehicle technology is the integration of state-of-the-art technologies only a few countries possess, which are strictly protected and controlled. Due to its nature of dual-use for military applications, transfer of those technologies is specifically prohibited. So, without its own technologies, a country should depend on foreign countries for space activities.
Only a limited number of countries worldwide reserve launch vehicle technology. The traditional space age powers such as the USA, Russia and Europe satisfy their domestic demands for space launches with their own launch vehicles, and provide commercial launch services for other countries.
In Asia, only the countries like China, Japan and India have their own launch vehicles at present. These countries fulfill their space programs with their own launch vehicles and are trying to enter the space launch service market.
Korea entered the field of space development in full scale from the year of 1996 and laid the technological grounds for space launch vehicle through the series of sounding rocket programs such as the KSR-I, II and III. Based on this experience, Korea's first space launch vehicle, the Naroho (KSLV-I), was developed and launched into orbit in 2013, immediately placing Korea among the top ten space powers.
[Ten countries with successfully developed and launched space launch vehicles]
Korea is developing its own independent Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-II) based on the technologies and experience acquired during the Naroho (KSLV-I) program. The Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-II) will be used to launch intermediate-class satellites in low earth orbit and, subsequently, to conduct further space explorations including the lunar exploration.
The future plan includes the expansion and enhancement of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-II) for the launch to geostationary orbit and large satellites, as well as the participation to satellite launch service market.
With the successful development of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-II), Korea will acquire independent space capability and be able to enter space whenever necessary, boost its status in the international community, and greatly enhance our national pride.