Korea Set to Enter Space Club Next Summer


"A decade of effort and anxiety all comes down to a single moment next summer when South Korea attempts to launch a satellite into orbit from its brand new spaceport at the southern tip of the peninsula," Korea Times reports:

A successful launch would make Korea the ninth country in the world to launch a home-made satellite from its own soil and mark a huge step forward in national ambitions to have a man on the moon by 2020.

The planned rocket launch is further heightening the public interest toward the country’s space program, which had been hyped since Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) biologist Yi So-yeon boarded the Soyuz spacecraft in April to become the second Asian woman ever to travel into outer space. 

Korean scientists recently unveiled a mock-up of the rocket:

The KSLV-1, a carrier rocket designed for transporting satellites, is a joint project with Russia’s Khrunichev State Space Science and Production Center, which is providing the technology for the project and designing the 25.8-meter-long lower assembly that contains the liquid-fueled propulsion system….

The first launch is expected as early as April, and if successful, another rocket will be launched from Naro nine months later. The Russians will provide the technology for a third launch if the first two attempts fail…

The rocket will head straight up for the first 25 seconds before making a “kick-turn” to about 10 degrees east, passing 100 kilometers above Okinawa on the way. The nose cone of the second-stage of the rocket that holds the satellite will split after 225 seconds and the lower assembly of the rocket will fall back to Earth 13 seconds later after burning all of its fuel. 

Construction of the Naro Space Center (built by Hyundai Heavy Industries) is 95% complete. Goheung County, where the Space Center is located, is hoping that the Center will attract additional investment.