Rocket Test Postponed as Space Program Sputters

      December 23, 2016 12:54

      The planned test of a homegrown engine for a space rocket has been postponed by 10 months to late 2018 since more time is needed to deal with technical glitches.

      The government scrambled to bring the test launch forward by 10 months so it could happen before President Park Geun-hye's five-year term ends, but now she faces impeachment the urgency has evaporated.

      The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning on Thursday decided to postpone the test of the 75-ton liquid-fuel rocket engine from December next year to October 2018. It said the completion date for the entire homegrown space rocket planned for June 2020 could also change.

      The government originally hoped to send a rocket carrying a satellite into orbit by 2021.The cost was estimated at W1.96 trillion (US$1=W1,199). But the proposed deadline was hastily brought forward when Park included it among her campaign pledges.

      But Korea Aerospace Industries has told the ministry that it cannot meet the deadline. "We shifted the deadline to reflect concerns that a rushed development could lead to failure and cause problems in the overall project," a ministry spokesman said.

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