South Korea sets date for rocket launch

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iol scitech nvo 23 Naro Space Centre

REUTERS

If all goes as scheduled, the 140-ton rocket will lift off between 4:00-6:55pm (0700-0955 GMT) from the Naro Space Centre on the south coast, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said.

Seoul - South Korea plans to go ahead with a delayed rocket launch on Thursday next week in its third bid in four years to put a satellite into orbit, officials said.

If all goes as scheduled, the 140-ton rocket will lift off between 4:00-6:55pm (0700-0955 GMT) from the Naro Space Centre on the south coast, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said.

The project has been plagued with problems, with failed attempts in 2009 and 2010. A successful launch this time is considered crucial to South Korea's commercial space ambitions.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) will deploy a small satellite that will mainly collect data on space radiation.

The latest launch had been scheduled for October 26, but was cancelled at the last minute after engineers detected a broken rubber seal in a connector between the launch pad and the first stage of the carrier rocket.

The KSLV-1 has a first stage manufactured by Russia, with a solid-fuel second stage built in South Korea.

The 100 kilogram satellite it will carry has a one-year operational lifespan and was developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

In 2009, the carrier rocket achieved orbit, but faulty release mechanisms on its second stage prevented proper deployment of the satellite.

A 2010 effort saw the carrier explode two minutes into its flight, with both Russia and South Korea blaming each other. - Sapa-AFP

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