The Ministry of Science and ICT said it has signed a business cooperation agreement with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), and the Institute for Information & Communication Technology Planning & evaluation (IITP) to cooperate in developing satellite communication technology, securing orbit and frequencies for satellite communication networks, and establishing and demonstrating pilot networks.
Low-orbit satellite communication can complement ground networks to a considerable level with advantages such as high transmission capacity, speed, and short latency. "The government will actively invest in research and development in the field of low-orbit satellite communication to strengthen the international competitiveness of domestic companies and support military use," Choi Woo-hyuk, a ministry official in charge of radio policy, said in a statement on December 7.
South Korea's low-orbit satellite industry is in its infancy due to the slow accumulation of independent core technologies. The Ministry of Science and ICT has proposed an injection of some 590 billion won ($446 million) from 2024 to 2031 to develop low-orbit satellite communication technology and lay the groundwork for domestic companies to participate in an international supply chain.
Satellite communication technology can offer high-quality wireless internet services. With over 3,000 small satellites in low Earth orbit as of September 2022, Starlink, an internet constellation operated by SpaceX and founded by Elon Musk, provides satellite internet connectivity to underserved areas of the planet, as well as competitively priced service in more urbanized areas. Starlink equipment ensures that Ukrainians can remain connected, after much of their terrestrial, or land-based, communications infrastructure was destroyed.
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