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Naro rocket set for third attempt

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, or Naro rocket, is set for its third launch on Thursday.

If successful in putting a scientific satellite mounted on the rocket into orbit, Korea will become the 10th country with its own capability to develop and launch a rocket.

The first attempt ended in failure 540.8 seconds after the launch due to malfunction of a fairing, a cover for the payload satellite, in August 2009.

The rocket failed a second time, exploding 137.3 seconds after launch in June 2010.

The exact cause has not been confirmed, but experts think it was due to a malfunction in the flight termination system, which allows self-destruction in case of emergency, such as when a rocket goes astray.

The scheduled liftoff of the KSLV-1 was delayed indefinitely on Oct. 26 due to a damaged rubber seal in the connector between the rocket and the launch pad.

The final run-through was conducted Wednesday. A team of Korean and Russian rockets experts will decide on the launch after checking the results at night.

By Kim Young-won (