Hundreds of private S. Korean companies behind Nuri as part of global 'New Space' trend
Updated: 2021-10-21 15:10:05 KST
Nuri's significance lies in fact that it was developed entirely by South Korea.
And behind it are some 300 private local companies from a country that only started investing in space less than 30 years ago.
Together they supplied around 30-thousand parts.
That includes Nuri's engine and valves which were developed from scratch by Hanwha Aerospace.
"We couldn't get any help from other countries as transferring space technology is strictly forbidden. And because we started without even knowing how our rocket would look, there was a lot of trial and error involved. It took many different tests of different functions with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute over a four-year period to get this technology. This was the hardest part."
Korea Aerospace Industries, another South Korean firm, took on the role of assembling the parts bought from other companies.
The company has long been working with the government in aerospace including the last rocket, Naro, which was co-developed with Russia.
"During the development of Naro, the last rocket, we failed twice before having a successful launch, and there were many hardships. Many companies working on it left in the middle and went into different industries. But Korea Aerospace Industries stayed amid all the hardships by focusing on the government's projects, and our work is finally bearing fruit."
Globally, private firms are taking on their own space projects and industry experts have dubbed this "New Space."
In fact, now, government spending in the global space industry is only a fifth of the market.
"The biggest advantages in private companies taking charge are the economic aspects and having a variation of business models."
Many are familiar with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic who have allowed civilian travel into space a new business in the industry.
"In the next ten years, there will be an environment where five, six, or even 10 businesses like SpaceX will exist.
Despite the country joining the space development race late the companies involved in Nuri note that South Korea was able to catch up with the rest of the world in the fields of IT, automobiles, and steel despite starting late.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.