Rocket Debris Could Hold Clues to Failed Launch

      June 11, 2010 09:37

      Experts have a slim hope of finding clues why the launch of Korea's first homegrown satellite-carrying rocket failed again on Thursday. Debris came down over the high seas 470 km south of Jeju island.

      While the location of the rocket debris was identified, Korean scientists may have trouble retrieving it as they are prohibited from accessing the first-stage rocket of the Naro under a contract with supplier Russia.

      There is a possibility that malfunction of the turbo pump, one of the sturdiest devices in the first-stage rocket, caused the Naro to blow up.

      Whether Russia will agree to retrieve the debris remains to be seen. Baek Hong-yeol of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said, "The rocket will have been smashed to smithereens given the speed and altitude when it blew up, and the debris is unlikely to be very helpful in determining the cause of the explosion."

      A ministry official said retrieval of debris is not completely impossible and Korea is about to discuss the matter with Russia.

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