S.Korea to look into cause of rocket failure

19:22, June 11, 2010      

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South Korean two-stage satellite-carrier Naro-1, or the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), lifts off from the Naro Space Center in South Jeolla Province, about 485 kilometers south of Seoul, South Korea, June 10, 2010. South Korea launched Naro-1, a locally assembled space rocket Thursday, but contact with the rocket was lost only 137 seconds after the takeoff. (Xinhua/Yonhap)

South Korea on Friday said it will work closely with Russia to look into what caused the failure of the nation's space rocket Naro-1.

Seoul's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said South Korea and Russia will form a joint investigation committee to clarify the exact reason for the failure of the domestically assembled satellite-carrying rocket that apparently exploded at an altitude of 70 km after liftoff on Thursday, and discuss the possibility of launching a third rocket.

The Naro-1 was designed in South Korea with Russian help. The Russians built the first stage of the two-stage rocket, and South Korea built the smaller second-stage rocket and the satellite.

The South Korean government has spent 502.5 billion won (407 million U.S. dollars) since 2002 to build the rocket and learn related technologies with Russian assistance and technical supervision.

Thursday's explosion marks the second failure to launch the Naro-1, after the first attempt, carried out on Aug. 25 last year, went into failure due to a malfunction in the fairing assembly that made it impossible to place the 100 kilogram satellite into orbit.

The ministry said experts of the two countries have held two meetings to review technical problems, while the Russian side has started analyze process based on related data of the first stage.

Meanwhile, the South Korean Navy recovered what is believed to be debris from the Naro-1 earlier in the day.

The debris was retrieved from the waters south of Jeju Island and will soon be delivered to the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute for analysis. The rocket carrying a satellite is believed to have fallen into the sea, 470 km south of Jeju Island, the ministry said.

Despite the failure, South Korea vowed to continue efforts on its ambition to join in space exploration.

Seoul's Education, Science and Technology Minister Ahn Byong- man said after Thursday's launch, that as soon as the review board reaches a conclusion, the ministry will announce the plan for the third launch of the space rocket.

"Though we humbly accept today's results, we shall not give up on our dream of becoming a space power," Ahn was quoted by local media as saying.

Source: Xinhua


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