Influence in Space Policies and Cooperation in the Asia Pacific

Posted: 22 May 2017

Date Written: September 21, 2010


In April 2008, Soyeon Yi became Korea's first astronaut, highlighting Korea's debut to the space arena to the world. In August 2009, Korea conducted their first satellite launch at the Naro Space Center, further signifying their commitment as a space faring nation. Since outer space does not have borders, and much of this advanced technology cannot be accomplished alone, Korea has gained the advice and expertise from allies and neighboring countries to aid them through the process. This has been conducted through the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), which has currently enhanced international collaboration with 34 organizations among 12 advanced countries such as the United States, Russia, UK, France, Germany, Israel, and China. Space technology has helped the country by developing industries and space applications for public, commercial, and scientific use. However, there is also a competitive drive in space, and technological advancement in space did start with the “US-Soviet space race." Thus, while there is cooperation amongst nations, there are also whispers of a space race.

Scholarly literature written on an “Asian space race" often focuses on the larger space faring nations, such as India, China, and Japan. Most have often focused on the China-Japan rivalry, and little research has been conducted on the cooperative regional institutions created, such as the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) and the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF), which are spearheaded by China and Japan, respectively. Out of the two institutions, South Korea is now only participant of the latter, whereas were also involved in APSCO's former body, the Asia Pacific Multilateral Cooperation in Space Technology and Applications (AP-MCSTA). With South Korea's growing intentions in space activities, further exemplified as host of the 2009 International Astronautical Congress (IAC), the largest annual international space conference, it is necessary to find ways for collaboration and foster greater international and regional involvement in the future. South Korea's space program will have an impact on its neighboring Asian countries, which may view Korea as a potential partner in future cooperation in space activities, or another rival in the race to the moon.

The paper will present the space development in Korea and analysis to current regional space organizations and provide a model on how regional space cooperation can work and benefit the region.

Keywords: South Korea, space, international cooperation, Asia Pacific

Suggested Citation

Wan, Stephanie, Influence in Space Policies and Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (September 21, 2010). Available at SSRN:

Stephanie Wan (Contact Author)

Space Policy Institute ( email )

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Suite 403
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United States

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