Korea will try again to launch the homegrown space rocket next year after coming to an agreement with Russia, which supplies the first-stage booster. The first two attempts failed.
Yoon Dae-sang of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, said on Tuesday, "Russia is currently making the first-stage rocket" for Korea Space Launch Vehicle or Naro, "and KAIST is building a satellite for the Naro's third launch." Since it takes about eight months after the decision is made, the next launch is expected next year, he added.
The Naro failed to lift its payload into orbit on its second launch attempt in June last year. Experts from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center met four times but failed to agree what the reason was. Seoul argued the cause was the Russian booster rocket, but Moscow denied this.
At the time, Kim Chang-kyung, then second vice minister of education, science and technology, said, "We can't go ahead with the third launch unless the cause of failure is identified."
But there has been some change in Seoul's position recently. In March, the Russian Federal Space Agency proposed launching another consultative body between the two sides to find the cause of the failure.
Yang Sung-kwang, the ministry's official in charge of strategic technology development, visited Russia in May and the two countries reportedly agreed to push for a third launch.