In a significant step towards fostering international collaboration in space exploration, Cho Sung-kyung, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science and ICT, embarked on a visit to key space organizations in France on January 19th. The visit included meetings with the European Space Agency (ESA), the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), and the space startup Exotrail, laying the groundwork for substantial cooperation in the field of space exploration. The discussions primarily focused on formulating strategies for collaborative efforts with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
A pivotal moment in the visit was a meeting with Josef Aschbacher, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA). During this meeting, Vice Minister Cho and Aschbacher conducted a comprehensive review of the current status of space cooperation between Korea and Europe. They reached a consensus to establish a practical working group, focusing on identifying specific items for collaboration in the realm of space exploration. Topics discussed included the coexistence and interoperability of the Korean Positioning System (KPS) and Galileo, data sharing through satellite communication networks, and potential cooperation in scientific space exploration. Notably, Aschbacher expressed a keen interest in Korea's participation in ESA's ambitious projects, such as lunar and Venus exploration.
Subsequent to this meeting, Vice Minister Cho visited the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) to explore ways to expand collaboration and exchanges between space companies in Korea and France. Emphasizing the need to revitalize the Korea-France Space Forum as a platform for networking and collaboration, discussions also focused on joint research initiatives aimed at promoting technological innovation in the aerospace industry. The commitment of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and CNES to partner in establishing a joint funding initiative for Korea-France cooperation was confirmed.
In concluding remarks, Vice Minister Cho Sung-kyung stated, "This visit to France reaffirms the abundant potential and determination for space cooperation between Korea and Europe, as well as Korea and France. To translate this potential into tangible outcomes, we will promptly establish a working group for concrete collaboration items with ESA and CNES."