S.Korea to develop space weather forecast system for military ops

South Korea has launched a 16.2 billion won ($13.9 million) project to develop a space weather forecast system by 2024 to ensure the stable operations of military assets, such as high-altitude drones, the state arms procurement agency said on Tuesday.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said it signed a contract with the local company, Satrec Initiative Co., last week to develop the system to predict space weather conditions and issue related alerts, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Once developed, the envisioned system will help prevent high-altitude surveillance drones, guided weapons systems and other assets from malfunctioning due to disruptions that weather conditions could cause in Global Positioning System signals.

“The system will mark the first weapons system of our military tasked with meticulously predicting changes in space weather conditions,” a DAPA official said.

“This is expected to ensure the stable operation of high-tech weapons systems and help expand the military utility of the space domain.”

DAPA expressed expectations that civilian research organisations, such as the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, could use the space weather forecast system through an information-sharing mechanism.