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South Korea postpones rocket launch

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 7:05 EDT
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The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 blasts off from the Naro Space Center in South Korea in June 2010.  File photo via AFP.
 
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South Korea has postponed a key satellite launch until the last week of November because of delays in the arrival of rocket parts from Russia, a senior official said Wednesday.

“We plan to inform international agencies of a new launch period of between November 23 and 30,” the science ministry’s Research and Development Policy Director Yang Sung-Kwang told journalists.

After two failures in 2009 and 2010, the planned rocket launch is considered crucial for South Korea’s efforts to join an elite club of nations — including Asian powers China, Japan and India — capable of putting a satellite in orbit.

The launch was originally scheduled for October 26 but it was cancelled at the last minute after engineers detected a broken rubber seal in a connector between the launch pad and the rocket’s first stage.

The 140-tonne Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) has a first stage manufactured by Russia and a solid-fuel second stage built in South Korea.

The damaged seal was sent back to its Russian manufacturer for inspection and a new launch window was set between November 9-24, but delays in Russia shipping a replacement resulted in a second postponement.

Launch dates are provided in advance to international agencies to minimise risks to shipping and aircraft in the area.

In 2009 a South Korean rocket achieved orbit but faulty release mechanisms on the second stage prevented proper deployment of the satellite.

A 2010 effort saw the rocket explode two minutes into its flight, with both Russia and South Korea blaming each other.

South Korea is a late entrant into the world of space technology and is eager to get its commercial launch programme up and running.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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