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First South Korean Space Rocket To Launch In 2008

File image of the KSLV-1. The Koreans will be the ninth country to enter space.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Jan 02, 2007
South Korea plans to launch its first space rocket next year, becoming the world's ninth country to do so, officials said Tuesday. A space centre on the country's south coast is some 90 percent complete after construction began in late 2000 at a cost of 265 billion won (285 million dollars). The rocket, named Korea Space Launch Vehicle, will put a small satellite weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) into orbit for scientific research and atmospheric surveys.

"This means that we'll have our own satellites and launch vehicles at the same time, laying the foundation for further space development," Hwang Pan-Sik, a deputy director of the Ministry of Science and Technology, told AFP.

South Korea began developing the two-stage rocket through a technology tie-up with Russia in 2004. The first stage is based on Russia's Angara rocket while the second stage is of South Korean origin, Hwang said.

Between this year and 2010, South Korea plans to build or launch a total of nine satellites.

The nation last month also selected two finalists who will compete to become the country's first astronaut.

They will be sent to Russia this year for intensive training. One of them will travel on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station in April 2008.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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