SEOUL, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - South Korea will spend about $1.3 billion on the development of a new-generation space delivery vehicle, following a recent failure to deliver a domestic satellite into orbit, a S. Korean newspaper said.
The Korea Times cited officials from Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), as saying it expects to complete the development of the three-stage Korea Space Launch Vehicle II (KSLV-II) by 2017.
The previous two-stage KSLV-1 rocket failed to deliver a 100-kilogram oceanic and atmospheric research satellite into its target orbit after the August 25 launch from the Naro Space Center, 485 kilometers (300 miles) south of the capital Seoul.
Seoul said then that the first and second stages of the rocket separated as planned, but one of the two fairings covering the satellite failed to fall off, making it impossible to generate the necessary thrust to keep the satellite in orbit.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has called the launch a "half success," and reaffirmed the country's drive to become a member of the so-called 'space club,' whose members have developed their own rockets and satellites and sent them into space from a launch facility on their own soil.
Russia's Khrunichev Space Research and Production Center provided technology for the Korean rocket project, and developed the first stage of the KSLV-1, including the rocket engine and liquid-fuel propulsion system.
"The Khrunichev Center will prepare a second launch next May, and is also contracted for a third launch should the second attempt fail," Korea Times quoted S. Korean space officials as saying.
KSLV-2, on the contrary, will be built "almost entirely on new technology" developed by South Korea.
The new delivery vehicle is expected to be a 50-meter (164-foot) three-stage liquid-fuel rocket, capable of carrying a payload of up to one metric ton.
South Korea began developing its own space program in 1996. Seoul has already launched 11 satellites since 1992, using foreign carrier rockets and launch sites.
The construction of South Korea's first space center on the island of Naro was completed in June.