Korea to Take Another Shot at Satellite Launch in May

      February 09, 2010 10:58

      Seoul will attempt another launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, also known as Naro-1, in May after the first attempt to put a satellite into orbit failed on Aug. 25 last year. The KSLV-1 is Korea's first locally assembled and launched space rocket.

      The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced the outcome of the final investigation by an independent private panel on Monday. It said the fairing's failure to separate, which scuppered the satellite launch, seemed to be caused by faulty electrical wiring or a structural problem.

      During the launch last year, electrical signals were supposed to be generated 216 seconds after liftoff and two fairings were expected to detach during the ascent stage. But one of two fairings failed to detach, the rocket went out of orbit and the satellite fell back to earth.

      Panel chairman Lee In said, "When the fairings were supposed to detach, the pressure inside the rocket was 10,000 times higher than expected. It is possible that electrical signals were discharged due to the unexpectedly high inside pressure."

      Based on the findings, the ministry plans to import the lower part of the booster rocket as early as next month after rectifying any electrical and mechanical defects, including reinforcing the cable sheath.

      Cho Kwang-rae, the head of booster research at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, said, "The second liftoff of the Naro will be carried in May or June this year. It remains to be seen whether Korea or Russia will pay for the lower part of the booster rocket."

      "Our contract with Russia stipulates that Russia should supply the lower part of the rocket additionally if the mission fails. But the two sides are in disagreement, because Russia considers last year's launch successful," he added.

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