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S Korea to launch homegrown rocket by 2020

Updated: 2013-11-26 21:36
( Xinhua)

SEOUL - South Korea plans to launch its homegrown space launch vehicles to put a satellite in orbit by 2020, the government said Tuesday.

The National Space Committee on Tuesday approved the renewed space development program, including developing and launching its own space launch vehicles, landing its first spaceship on the moon, strengthening international cooperation on deep space exploration to Mars and small asteroids and setting up a space watch program.

The country is expecting to launch its indigenous space rocket that can put a 1.5-ton satellite into space before June 2020, 15 months earlier than its previous plan, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

"Considering the daily growing competition in space development and the country's need to secure leadership in space development for security purposes, the government approved a revised plan for the development of a Korean launch vehicle that moves up the timeline by one year and three months," Yonhap news agency quoted the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning as saying.

The ministry said the government will spend a total of 1.96 trillion won (around $1.85 billion) to fund the program.

South Korea successfully sent a satellite into space with the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, also known as Naro, in January 2013. But Naro was built in Russia and South Korea.

The country will also land a spacecraft on the moon in 2020 with its own launch vehicle, the ministry said.

Besides, the government will keep on developing its own satellites and encourage the private sector's participation to boost the country's space industry.

At present, South Korea's space market only accounts for 0.45 percent of the total global space market, according to the ministry.

The ministry said the renewed space program will help more than triple the size of the country's space industry to about $2.64 billion by 2017 and create some 4,500 new jobs.