South Korea to launch fully homegrown rocket next year
Previous versions relied on parts from Russia, the last tested successfully in 2013.
Korea Aerospace Research Institute president Cho Gwang-rae told reporters at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province last Thursday, "We're planning to launch an experimental rocket at this space center in December next year to test the engine of a space launch vehicle which we're developing for satellite launches and lunar probes."
The rocket has been in development since 2010 with a budget of W1.96 trillion. It will be a 47.2 m-long three-stage rocket with a payload of 1,500 kg.
Its goal is to send a satellite into orbit about 600-800 km above the earth and a lunar probe and landing module to the Moon in 2020.
The experimental rocket is expected to reach 229 km beyond the atmosphere. KARI is carrying out engine combustion tests at the space center to gauge performance in space.
Some 150 scientists and engineers are being engaged in the development with the cooperation of private firms including Hanwha Techwin.
"Every and each component is being manufactured by our own researchers, except for sensors and some components that are mass-produced," said Han Young-min of KARI. ■