November 29, 2012 09:20
The third and final launch attempt of a homegrown space rocket goes ahead Thursday afternoon. The rocket is set for liftoff at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province around 4 p.m.
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute on Wednesday conducted a six-hour dress rehearsal for the launch by checking the Russian-made first-stage booster, the homegrown second-stage booster, the launch pad, and the rocket tracking system.
The rocket, dubbed Naro, will break the sound barrier 54 seconds after liftoff. The first-stage booster will drop off 232 seconds into the flight, the engine of the second-stage booster will be ignited at the 395th second, and the satellite will separate from the second-stage booster at the 540th second.
The mission will be deemed successful if the KAIST Satellite Technology Research Center in Daejeon manages to communicate with the satellite 12 hours after launch.
The first launch attempt on Aug. 25, 2009 failed because the homegrown fairings that covered the satellite failed to separate. At the second launch attempt on June 10, 2010, the rocket exploded in midair 137 seconds after liftoff.
The third attempt planned for Oct. 26 this year had to be postponed at the last minute when a helium leak in the coupling device connecting the first stage of the rocket was discovered. Korean and Russian engineers found the fault in the Russian-made adapter block between the launch pad and the gas inlet, and replaced it with a new component.
The Naro project ends after this launch, regardless of success or failure.
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