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BK21 PLUS ③ Space Exploration of the Moon-Earth System Project Center

2013-11-22 Research

With infrastructure accumulated over 7 years, the Space Exploration of the Moon-Earth System Project Center will lead the future of lunar exploration.

A total of 21 project teams and centers at Kyung Hee University were selected for funding in the BK21 PLUS program designed to cultivate creative and future-oriented students. In the third installment of a series detailing the educational goals and plans of the selected project teams and centers, we will take a closer look into the Space Exploration of the Moon-Earth System Project Center of the Department of Astronomy and Space-Science led by Professor Yong-Jae Moon.

Advancements in WCU space science and technology programs
The Space Exploration of the Moon-Earth System Project Center will receive approximately 900 million KRW in annual funding for the next seven years to further develop space science and technology programs and courses that Kyung Hee had previously created as part of the World Class University project. Kyung Hee University was the only university to be selected in category one of the space and national defense sectors in the World Class University project. Since 2008, Kyung Hee has carried out a variety of projects in the selected area and established the Department of Astronomy and Space-Science in September 2009.

The Department of Astronomy and Space-Science established close ties with prestigious research institutions across the world while conducting the World Class University project. The department also strengthened research capacity for space exploration through joint studies with esteemed international scholars. In particular, the department became the first in Korea to develop a miniaturized satellite for space exploration. On September 14, 2012, Kyung Hee successfully launched the CINEMA 1 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the US. CINEMA 1 was developed to explore the areas of space closest to Earth. CINEMA 2 (KHUSAT-1) and CINEMA 3 (KHUSAT-2) are planned for launch in November 2013. The launch of CINEMA 2 and CINEMA 3 will mark the first time in the history of space exploration that three miniature satellites will be used for the same mission.

Professor Yong-Jae Moon said, “We have established the infrastructure necessary for translunar space exploration through the World Class University project. Now with funding from the BK21 PLUS project, we are hope to be able to conduct translunar space exploration.”

Practice-oriented education for convergent studies in space science and space exploration technology
The ultimate goal of the project center is to conduct translunar space exploration and carry out research on the space environment. Satellites have yet to photographically capture the magnetic field around the lunar surface. If the research is successful, it will be possible to identify the cause of the magnetic field on the lunar surface and collect information on the origins of the moon. To achieve this goal, the project center will cultivate skilled human resources through BK21 PLUS funding and also support research by winning bids for national research projects.

The academic courses will rely on convergent studies of space science and space exploration technology and on field studies for international space exploration. The courses are designed to foster future scientists equipped with field experience as well as a range of knowledge in the sun, moon, and areas of space closest to the earth. Thirteen professors who specialize in space payload, translunar space observation, data analysis, and theoretical research will participate in the research and advise 55 master’s and 60 doctorate students over the next seven years.

Space exploration requires convergent studies of various fields including Astronomy, Physics, and Electronics and Radio Engineering. Because international cooperation is also crucial for effective research, the project center will work cooperatively with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, the University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Imperial College London to develop a satellite that goes directly to the moon.

Translated by Ji Eun Song · Edited by Karen Choi

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