Korea will have a third and last go at launching a homegrown space rocket, dubbed Naro, on Friday. After checking weather forecasts and launch preparations, the launch management committee scheduled the launch for Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Monday.
Minister Lee Ju-ho said, "According to weather forecasts, rain is expected Friday, but that will present no technical problems for the launch because it's expected after the 3:30-7:00 p.m. launch window, and no lightning is forecast during that time."
If it does rain the launch could be postponed, he added.
"Technically, wind is a more decisive factor than rain," said Kim Seung-jo of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. "The rocket could be in danger of veering off the course in the initial stage after liftoff if the maximum wind speed exceeds 15 m/s on the ground and 100 m/s in the sky."
The final decision will be made Friday morning, and the exact time will be announced at 1:30 p.m.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration's weather forecast, rain is expected at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province from late Friday afternoon until Sunday.
The first- and second-stage rocket boosters have been connected and are ready to be transported to the launch pad. All preparations at the launch pad are also finished.
If this launch also fails there will be no further attempt and the Naro project will come to an end.
The government has already started developing a launch vehicle capable of sending a 1.5 ton satellite into orbit. The goal is to produce a completely homegrown space rocket by 2021.