Hanwha Aerospace to build rocket assembly facility in southern province

By Park Sae-jin Posted : April 17, 2023, 15:26 Updated : April 17, 2023, 16:56

[Courtesy of Hanwha Aerospace]

SEOUL -- Hanwha Aerospace, a global defense solution company, will invest 50 billion won ($38.1 million) to build a rocket research and development infrastructure in the southern port city of Suncheon some 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Seoul, designated as the special zone for space launch vehicle development. The massive infrastructure will house a rocket assembly facility.
In a bid to be reborn as a global defense solution company like the Unites States' Lockheed Martin, Hanwha Aerospace was allowed to absorb the defense business of Hanwha Corporation, a manufacturing and trading company that produces munitions, navigational systems for guided weapons, and lasers in July 2022. Hanwha Defense, a defense contractor known for K9 self-propelled howitzers and infantry fighting vehicles, is completely merged into Hanwha Aerospace.
Along with defense products, Hanwha Aerospace produces aircraft parts and engines for homegrown space rockets. In December 2022, Hanwha Aerospace secured a deal worth about 286 billion won to lead and supervise the production of three space rockets that will be launched for three years from 2023. The deal marked the beginning of South Korea's "Space Pioneer" program aimed at creating a self-sustaining industrial ecosystem and cultivating companies like Space X, a U.S. aerospace company.
The rocket engine maker said in a statement that the company will build the rocket assembly facility, also known as rocket integration and testing facility (ITF), which is about the size of three football fields in Suncheon. Hanwha Aerospace's plan is to build a private infrastructure capable of carrying out projects for next-generation space launch vehicles (SLVs). An ITF is a facility where various stages of rockets are manufactured, assembled, and tested. The ITF will be constructed by 2025.
Hanwha Aerospace will also build a production facility in Gohueng, a peninsula area some 40 kilometers south of Suncheon, to produce key components for SLVs. "We will cooperate with the government and local administrations to develop South Korea into a country with strong space technology capacity," a Hanwha Aerospace official said in a statement. 
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