U.S., South Korea to Deepen Space Cooperation Through Artemis Accords, Satellite Navigation System

The United States will provide support for development of the satellite-based Korean Positioning System (KPS), and South Korea will sign the Artemis Accords that will guide human exploration of the moon, the White House said last week.

The announcement followed a summit in Washington between U.S. President Joe Biden and Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in. A White House fact sheet that described cooperative activities included the following two items:

  • Expand cooperation on space exploration facilitated by the Republic of Korea’s decision to sign the Artemis Accords, joining nine other nations focused on returning to the moon by 2024 and ultimately expand and deepen space exploration.
  • Support for the ROK’s development of its own satellite navigation system, the Korean Positioning System, and enhance its compatibility and interoperability with the Global Positioning System.

The Artemis Accords are a set of principals laying out how the United States and other signatories will go about exploring the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. Signatories include Australia, , Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom. Brazil signed a statement of intent to sign the Artemis Accords in December.

ROK’s space agency, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), described the navigation system as follows:

The KPS Development Plan (draft) is a regional GPS center on the Korean peninsula using three geostationary navigation satellites, four oblique navigation satellites, and terrestrial systems. The goal is to prove the ultra-precision location data service in meter, sub-meter, and centimeter resolutions. The implementation of KPS can guarantee citizens’ safety by operating the national network stably without depending on foreign systems. It is also expected to accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as self-driving automobiles as well as the drone industry by acquiring accurate location information.