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Space

Kolon enters private space business with composite materials

Its composite materials affiliates will provide solutions to reduce the weight of space launch vehicles

By Aug 27, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

INNOSPACE's 15-ton hybrid rocket using Kolon Glotech's composite materials.
INNOSPACE's 15-ton hybrid rocket using Kolon Glotech's composite materials.

Kolon will be the next major South Korean business group to join the race in the fast-growing space sector by developing and making light composite materials for satellite launch vehicles.

The textile-to-chemicals conglomerate said on Aug. 26 that its automotive and lifestyle materials maker Kolon Glotech Inc. and its affiliate Kolon DACC Composite Co. will enter the satellite launch vehicle segment.

Kolon Glotech Inc., a subsidiary of the Kospi-listed Kolon Industries Inc., has been a supplier of carbon and glass fiber-based composite materials to be used as part of the solid fuel for satellite launch vehicles. The group said that Kolon Glotech will also offer solutions to reduce the weight of the satellite launch vehicles using its expertise in composite materials.

Kolon DACC Composite is known for making a wide range of light carbon fiber composite materials for the aviation and defense industries. Its clients include Hanwha Defense, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. as well as the army and navy of South Korea.

Analysts note that the two Kolon units will be able to create new business synergies with the rocket propulsion startup INNOSPACE, in which Kolon invested 6 billion won ($5.1 million) in July. INNOSPACE is currently in the development of a 15-ton engine including its pilot tests.

Kolon-invested startup INNOSPACE testing its 5-ton hybrid rocket engine.
Kolon-invested startup INNOSPACE testing its 5-ton hybrid rocket engine.

If the startup succeeds in launching the rocket during the first half of next year in Brazil, it will be South Korea’s first company to own a space launch vehicle.  

“Our investment in INNOSPACE will act as a stepping stone for Kolon Group to expand its composite materials business in the private space sector,” said Kolon Glotech CEO Kim Young-bum.

Write to Jeong-min Nam at peux@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.

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