August 18, 2009 / 6:23 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: A look at South Korea's space program

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has been making final preparations for its first space launch on Wednesday, which it hopes will quickly propel it into the position of the region’s newest space power.

Here is a look at South Korea’s space program:

FIRST ROCKET

* The rocket planned for launch is called the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, or Naro-1.

* Two-stage rocket is 33 meters (108 ft) long, 2.9 meters in diameter, weighs 140 tonnes and can generate 170 tonnes of thrust. It was built at a cost of 502.5 billion won ($400 million), according to the South’s Yonhap news agency.

* Russia’s Khrunichev space production center built the main thrusters for the first stage and provided technical assistance.

SATELLITES

* South Korea has produced several satellites and relied on help from countries such as Russia to launch them.

* It plans to launch a 100 kg satellite on Naro-1 that will monitor Earth’s radiant energy.

* It reached a deal with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries earlier this year to launch earth-imaging satellite.

* It plans to be able to eventually build satellites and launch other countries’ satellites on its rockets.

SPACE PROGRAMME PLANS

* Aims to build a rocket completely on its own by 2018.

* Build a probe that can orbit Moon by 2025.

* Develop a training program with the air force for Korean space astronauts.

* Work with the U.S. and Japanese space agencies for joint research at the International Space Station.

* Enable South Korean astronauts to participate in advanced countries’ manned space projects through long-term international cooperation

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Christine Kim; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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