June 10, 2009

South Korea Completes First Domestic Space Center

South Korea has finished working on its first space center which will allow for the nation's first-ever satellite launch.

The 5.11 million square-meter Naro Space Center has been a work in progress since December 2000. The project cost 312 billion won (or $248.6 million) according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The first mission on the new space center's agenda is the launch of a Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), which will place a satellite in orbit on July 30.

The KSLV-1 launch will be the first satellite to be launched from South Korean soil. The nation has previously launched 10 satellites from various launch sites outside of the country.

Following the KSLV-1 launch, South Korea is expected to begin working on the KSLV-2, with plans to launch by 2018.

"The Naro center will be the hub for our space development," said Education, Science and Technology Minister Ahn Byong-Man.

Last month, South Korea's neighbor, North Korea, launched a long-range rocket which it claimed to be a peaceful satellite launch.

Other nations were more cautious of North Korea's launch, stating that no satellite had been detected since the nation's launch. Many have speculated that the launch was a disguised test of a long-range missile.


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