Russian technicians say they are not responsible for the failure of Korea's first partly homegrown satellite-carrying rocket last week. Some Russian technicians left a day after the Naro or KLSV-1 blew up minutes after launch. They looked serious, according to Korean engineers, apparently because the press here blamed a malfunction of the rocket's first-stage engine for the failure.
A total of 160 Russian technicians came to Korea in April and May to take care of the first-stage engine, the core technology of the Naro-1.
They were under heavy stress to the point where one of them attempted suicide in Busan in early June. Some Korean and Russian engineers established friendly relations through parties or other events, but heated debate over who is responsible for the launch failure is inevitable.
The Russians are said to have reported to their headquarters that there was nothing wrong with the first-stage engine.
According to Russia's Interfax news agency, a spokesman for Energomash, the developer of the Naro's engines, on Friday called for a careful review of the failure but added engineers in Korea reported no significant engine problem. "We aren't responsible for the failure," he added.
About a dozen Russian engineers will stay in Korea to work together with their Korean counterparts to determine the cause of the explosion.