Thursday, June 11, 2009

ROK completes Naro Space Center

Windsor Genova

Seoul - South Korea has completed building the country's $249 million space center after eight years of work, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) said Wednesday.

The Naro Space Center is located 300 miles south of the capital Seoul and has an area of 1,252 acres. It will build rockets and launch South Korean satellites into orbit, MEST said.

The state-of-the-art mission control center has launch and flight safety control facilities, launch pad, meteorological observatory and both radar and optical tracking systems to follow the trajectory of all rockets launched, the ministry said, according to

The center will launch its first two-stage rocket called Korea Satellite Launch Vechile-1 or Naro-1 on July 30. The launch will make South Korea the 13th country capable of sending satellites into orbit.

The Naro-1, which can carry a payload of 220 pounds, will send a small scientific satellite into orbit.

The center will build a second rocket scheduled to be launched in 2018, Yoo Guk-hee, head of the ministry's space development division, told Joong Ang Daily. The second Naro rocket will send an unmanned lunar orbiter in 2020, according to Yoo.