June 11, 2010 08:44
Korea again failed to launch a home grown satellite-carrying space rocket at its second attempt on Thursday. The KLSV-1 was launched at 5:01 p.m. from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province but exploded 137.19 seconds after blastoff, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Ahn Byong-man said.
The rocket exploded at an altitude of about 70 km some 470 km south of Jeju Island, the ministry said.
The second launch attempt this year went wrong much sooner than the first, which went fine until the payload's fairing failed to separate 225 seconds after blastoff.
Lee Joo-jin, the president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, said, "The Naro had been in normal flight until the explosion. The camera in the rocket sent footage showing the moment of explosion."
Korean and Russian engineers will now seek to find out why the Naro blew up.
The two countries started developing the rocket in 2002. A total of W800 billion (US$1=W1,248) has been poured into the project, including construction of the space center.
In 2004, Moscow signed a contract to supply the first-stage rocket for US$200 million. Citing the contract, the ministry says Russia should supply a third rocket for free if either of the two launch attempts fails, but there is no clear plan in case Russia turns down the request.
Meanwhile, the ministry says the debris fell into waters some 30 degrees northern latitude and 128 degrees eastern longitude and as of 11 p.m. Thursday had caused no damage to Japanese territory or people.
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