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NASA predicts links with Korea space program

Oct 14,2009
DAEJEON - Korea has the potential to become an important partner in efforts aimed at advancing exploration and technology for the peaceful use of space, the head of the U.S. aerospace administration said yesterday.

National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) chief Charles Bolden, Jr. said at the International Astronautical Congress in Daejeon, located 164 kilometers (102 miles) south of Seoul, that the country has made noticeable strides with its robust space program by building satellites and launching a rocket into orbit.

He said that future cooperative tie-ups could take place in such areas as lunar exploration, satellites and the field of aeronautics.

The remarks come after President Lee Myung-bak said on Monday that Seoul is seeking to forge cooperative relations with top space exploration leaders like the United States and is considering a move to take part in a U.S.-led lunar exploration project.

“NASA is hopeful of enhancing bilateral cooperation that can make South Korea a vital partner along with other countries,” Bolden told reporters.

He did not go into details, but said new cooperative tie-ups can be explored in a wide range of promising areas along with traditional fields where two-way exchanges have taken place in the past.

At present, NASA exchanges data and information on Earth observation that is used to monitor climate change and weather conditions.

The former Marine Corps major general said Washington is waiting for the release of the so-called Augustine Report, which will highlight the need for international cooperation in future space endeavors as a way to defray skyrocketing costs and spread out risks.

Bolden said that the United States has held talks on future cooperation with “non-traditional space partners” such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand to discern the positions of these countries. He also stressed that while policy makers in Seoul believe they are far behind technologically, there are not many countries that can build satellites and launch space vehicles from their own soil.

Bolden was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama as NASA administrator earlier this year.

Yonhap


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