South Korea's science ministry said Wednesday it plans to launch a lunar exploration project next year, eventually seeking to send a landing vessel by 2020.
Under the first stage of the project that will run from 2016 to 2018, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will allocate 197.8 billion won ($169 million) to conduct research and send an orbiter.
The ministry said it has already secured a 20 billion-won budget for 2016.
South Korea plans to develop the orbiter and the ground station independently with its own technologies, the ministry added.
It will also seek cooperation with overseas researchers, such as the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to develop payloads.
For the second phase of the project, the ministry will send a landing vessel to the moon with its own developed launch vehicle.
The ministry added it will make efforts to utilize its prior experiences in developing satellites. (Yonhap)