Choi, Soon-Dal (In Memoriam)

People & Life

In Memoriam

People & Life

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Choi, Soon-Dal
Biograph (1931-)

In 1992, when KITSAT-1(Uribyol-1) was successfully launched, Korea became the 22nd satellite carrier in the world. 20 years later, in the field of satellite technology, the Republic of Korea has become to the edge of advanced countries, and now it has got the international status to export satellites to various countries in the world.
The growth and development of our country as a satellite exporting country from the wasteland of satellite technology is a representative example of the creative economy, and its growth and development were possible because of Professor Choi Soon-dal's great contribution to space development.
When talking about the history and achievements of Korea's space development, Dr. Choi's contributions to pioneering the Korean space development have not only been widely publicized, but Dr. Choi has been regarded as the father of Korea's space development.
Professor Choi Soon-dal graduated from Seoul National University in 1954 with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1957, he went to the United States to study. In 1960 and 1961, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford Univ in 1969.
From July 1969 to January 1976, he worked as a development director at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a research institute at the California Institute of Technology. Having worked as the development director of spacecraft communication devices, he later accumulated abundant knowledge and development experience on spacecraft systems needed to develop satellites of Korean nationality.
He returned to Korea in 1976 and became the first director of the Central Research Institute of Geumsung Co., Ltd., and Managing Director of Dongyang Nairon Electronics Division. In 1981, he became the first Director of the Korea Telecom Research Institute, and Director of the Korea Electronics Technology Institute and the first President of Korea Electric Power Corporation.
In 1985, he was the first dean of the Korea Science and Technology University (now undergraduate course of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and the President of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. He has actively participated in the academia as well as industry and contributed greatly to the promotion of science and technology.
Prof. Soon-dal returned to Professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at KAIST in February 1989 and plans to develop a small satellite for scientific experiments with the belief that space technology is a necessary skill of national development. He established the satellite research center and served as the first director. In October 1989, Dr. Soon-Dal sent his undergraduate students to Surrey Univ. to study satellite for about a year, and made them to work with the satellite team of the Surrey Satellite Technology Company (SSTL), University of Surrey, UK in January 1991 for the satellite development. It was possible that Korea, which was a wasteland of space technology, had the ability to develop its own satellite because of the enthusiasm of Dr. Soon-dal.
Prof. Choi has successfully developed and operated Korea's first nationality satellite, KITSAT-1, and has developed KITSAT-2 as its own technology and manpower in Korea. At the same time, he has secured the ability to design and manufacture our own small satellites. As a result, he has achieved great achievements in training the human resources of the satellite sector. He has also done research activities on the core technology of the system of KITSAT-1 and 2 and the results of operation in space. A total of 69 papers were presented at national and international journals and academic conferences. In the meantime, he was awarded numerous awards such as the NASA Technology Award, the Sejong Cultural Award Science Prize, and the Chang Young-Sil International Science and Culture Award.
In recognition of the pioneering efforts for the future of our country's space development, many scientists in the field of space have called Dr. Choi Sun-dal "Father of Korean Space development ".