Seoul to set definite date for launch of Naro space rocket

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 21, 2013 - 19:00
  • Updated : Jan 23, 2013 - 16:45

South Korea will this week set a more definite date for the liftoff of its Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), the government said Wednesday.

The country's Launch Preparation Committee earlier set Jan.

30-Feb. 8 as possible dates for what will be its third launch of KSLV-1, also known as Naro.

"The committee will be convened at 11 a.m. Thursday and select a launch date within the candidate dates after reviewing technical preparations and weather conditions," the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said in a statement.

The country's first two attempts to send the KSLV-1 into space in 2009 and 2010 ended in failures. A successful launch of the space rocket will make the country the world's 13th nation to send a satellite into space from its own soil.

The third launch of the KSLV-1 was originally set to take place on Oct. 26 but was delayed due to a damaged rubber seal in the connector between the rocket and the launch pad.

The rocket was then set to lift off on Nov. 11, but the launch was again postponed with only minutes left on the launch countdown clock, due to what South Korean engineers earlier called "unusual signals" from the rocket's thrust system.

The launch committee earlier said the latest problem with the rocket's thrust vector system was caused by a defective hydraulic motor in the upper or second-stage rocket of Naro. The defective part has been replaced.

The lower and larger thrust engine of the two-stage Naro was built by Russia as South Korea currently lacks related technology.

The upper and lighter stage of the rocket was indigenously developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and some 200 other companies and research centers here.

The ongoing Naro space program ends later in the year, but a separate program to develop the country's own space launch vehicle is already under way.

Under the program, the country seeks to develop an indigenous 75-ton thrust engine by 2018, which will be used in a group of four to create a 300-ton thrust engine that is set to be launched in 2021. (Yonhap News)