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Naro, South Korea (Yonhap) Feb 01, 2013
The Naro Space Center, the site of South Korea's space rocket launch, will be further developed into the home of South Korea's space development program that seeks to produce an indigenous space rocket by 2021, center operators said Tuesday.
The center, located 485 kilometers south of Seoul, is again in the media spotlight as the country prepares to launch its Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), also known as Naro, on Wednesday.
The launch was South Korea's third attempt to send Naro into space after two botched attempts in August 2009 and June 2010.
The Naro Space Center currently sits on 5.11 million square meters of land after its first development plan was completed in June 2010, costing 331.4 billion won (US$301 million), according to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the state-run operator of the center.
It is equipped with a state-of-the-art mission director center, flight safety control facilities and a launch pad. It also has a meteorological observatory and a rocket assembly facility, along with radar and optical tracking systems that can follow the trajectory of rockets fired.
A second 582.7-billion-won development plan began in 2009 to further expand the center and build an engine combustion test facility, which is an essential component for the development of the country's indigenous rockets, according to KARI.
The KSLV-1 is a two-stage rocket with a Russian-built first stage engine and a South Korean-made second-stage rocket.
The ongoing Naro space program ends later this year, but the National Science and Technology Commission has already approved a new five-year space program that aims to develop an indigenous 10-ton thrust engine by 2016.
The second five-year program, along with the ongoing Naro development plans, are part of a long-term goal that seeks to develop a 300-ton thrust engine that can carry a 1.5-ton satellite into space by 2021.
To this end, KARI seeks to launch 14 new projects, costing a total of 1.61 trillion won, which will include the construction of a space vehicle test center, as well as a training facility for astronauts.
"By securing a means to train the country's own astronauts, we can prepare for the country's advance into an exclusive club of countries with advanced space technologies," KARI said.
Korea Aerospace Research Institute
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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