It took a dozen years --
and three attempts for Korea to join the Space Club -- by sending a home-grown rocket into space.
While the first stage of the Naro rocket was built by Russian engineers, its follow-up, the Korea Space Launch Vehicle Two, aims to develop a full three-stage rocket on Korean soil -- from testing to launch.
These are the key test facilities essential to building rocket engines scheduled to be completed in April ahead of a first test-run in May.
"This is a combustor testing facility. Under such extreme conditions, where thousands of tons of fuel is burned within seconds, anything can happen if the test fails. So the emitter looks over to the sea, and the concrete safety wall is a meter thick to absorb the impact."
A total of seven new buildings will be lined up here at Naro Space Center and a brand-new, larger launch pad will also be constructed next to the current launcher to test-launch one completed rocket in 2017.
Naro's science satellite was only 1-hundred kilograms but the KSLV-2 will carry a practical low-orbit satellite 15 times heavier at 1.5 tons.
Four 75-ton engines will be needed to send the three-stage rocket into space -- four times the size needed for the Naro.
If successful in placing its satellite into orbit in 2020, the KSLV-2 will also be used to send a moon orbiter in the same year.
Some may wonder if the fast-forwarded timeline is feasible, but the chief says it is, especially as Korea's space agency may now have a new partner other than Russia in moon exploration.
"In terms of the lunar explorer, we have stronger international cooperation. NASA has offered to collaborate in moon exploration as they will be involved in it at the same time we aim to send a lunar lander."
To foster industry growth and profitability, Seoul aims to also use the rocket to launch other countries' satellites.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News, Goheung.