South Korea Counts on Cooperation With Russia in Space Exploration

South Korea intends to actively cooperate with Russia in the exploration of space, and before June, this year, hopes to sign a bilateral framework agreement in this sphere.

An informed source in the South Korean Ministry of Science and Technology said this in a telephone conversation on Friday. According to the data at his disposal, the South Korean side shows interest in joint projects of launching satellites and creating rocket-carriers with the use of advanced Russian technologies.

At the present time, said the source, the plans for signing the agreement are being coordinated with South Korean ministries concerned.

The draft framework agreement was sent to the Russian side in May 2001, and in October 2002 Moscow gave its answer. Thus, the South Korean Ministry of Science and Technology believes, a way has been opened for signing this basic document.

On the basis of this agreement, the source pointed out, it is envisaged to work jointly on creating a South Korean rocket-carrier KSLV-1 to put in the Earth's orbit artificial satellites of weighing up to 100 kilogrammes. The launching of this rocket-carrier is expected to take place in 2005 from South Korea.

South Korea also plans to launch a multi-purpose satellite, Komsat-2, in cooperation with the Khrunichev State Space Centre.

Specific trends of Russian-South Korean space cooperation will be further discussed at the level of the two countries' working groups.

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