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South Korea sets new date for launch of first carrier rocket

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South Korea has postponed the launch of its first carrier rocket from the Naro Space Center until August 25, the Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - South Korea has postponed the launch of its first carrier rocket from the Naro Space Center until August 25, the Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

The August 19 attempt to launch the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), carrying a scientific satellite on board, was called off after a technical glitch halted the countdown eight minutes before liftoff.

Yonhap cited South Korea's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as saying the new date reflects weather conditions and the time needed to prepare the launch vehicle and the satellite for a safe launch.

KSLV-1, built in cooperation with Russia, is based on the Angara carrier rocket. The carrier rocket is designed to deliver small satellites into low orbit and can carry a payload of up to 100 kg (220 lbs).

The rocket was developed jointly by the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. It weighs 140 metric tons, has a diameter of 3 meters (10 feet) and the height of 33 meters (108 feet).

If the August 25 rescheduled launch is successful, South Korea will become a member of the so-called 'space club,' whose members have developed their own rockets and satellites and sent them into space from a launch facility on their own soil.

A second, more powerful rocket named KSLV-2 could be created and launched by 2018 without foreign assistance. It is expected to be a 50-meter (164-foot) three-stage rocket, capable of carrying up to one metric ton of payload.

The construction of South Korea's first space center on the island of Naro, about 500 km (311 miles) south of Seoul, was completed in June.

The facility covers an area of over 5 square km (1.9 square miles). The cost of construction totaled $248.6 million, according to the country's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

South Korea started its space program in 1996 and has so far orbited 11 satellites with the help of foreign carrier rockets launched from territories of other countries.

 

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