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Space

South Korean rocket explodes shortly after take-off

RIA Novosti

16:21 10/06/2010

MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - A South Korean rocket, launched from the Naro space center, exploded two minutes after take-off, Yonhap news agency said.

A South Korean rocket, launched from the Naro space center, exploded two minutes after take-off, Yonhap news agency said.

The KSLV-1 (The First Korean Space Launch Vehicle) rocket-carrier with STSAT-2B climate satellite onboard blasted off at noon Moscow time [08:00 GMT]. Later the Yonhap agency said the space center's control service had lost contact with the vehicle.

It is the second unsuccessful attempt to launch the rocket in South Korea.

The previous two-stage KSLV-1 rocket failed to deliver a 100-kilogram oceanic and atmospheric research satellite into its target orbit on August 25, 2009. It was described by President Lee Myung-bak as a "half success" as the first and second stages separated as planned, but one of the two fairings covering the satellite failed to fall off.

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 a height of 33 meters (108 feet).

"Currently Korean and Russian specialists are investigating the incident," the agency quoted the South Korean science and culture minister Ahn Ben Mann as saying. He added that after the results of the investigations are revealed, preparations for the launch of a third rocket would begin.

South Korea began developing its own space program in 1996. Seoul has already launched 11 satellites since 1992, using foreign carrier rockets and launch sites.

Seoul plans to build a more powerful rocket named KSLV-2 and launch it by 2018 without foreign assistance. The vehicle is expected to be a 50-meter (164-foot) three-stage rocket, capable of carrying a payload of up to one metric ton.



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