SEOUL, July 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will redouble efforts to meet a preset timetable for the launch of a locally built rocket and the development of satellites, as well as to upgrade its overall space capabilities, the science ministry said Thursday.
Under the plan, Seoul is set to launch its first locally built Nuri space rockets, deploy next-generation 500-kilogram satellites and send orbiter probes to the Moon in the 2020-2022 period, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.
It said experts will decide later as to when to launch the two 300-ton thrust Nuri rockets in 2021, with the plans to send the pair of midsized satellites with the latest optical cameras into the Earth's orbit to move forward later in the year and the early part of 2021.
The successful launch of two Nuri space vehicles in 2021 will set the stage for further development of the country's space capabilities, with the goal of acquiring know-how to send up multiple satellites at once.
South Korea will start a follow-up rocket program in 2022 with the aim of launching a more powerful rocket in 2029.
The ministry said the country is taking steps to join the global space debris mitigation efforts first set forth by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space in 2007.
There have been growing calls to better control the 900,000 pieces of space debris over one centimeter wide that are floating around the Earth, as they can damage satellites and other space assets.
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