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KSLV - Korean Space Launch Vehicle-1 Third Flight Success

KSLV-1 (The First Korea Space Launch Vehicle) carrying a South Korean research spacecraft, the STSAT-2C, was successfully launched from the Naro Space Center at 11 a.m. Moscow Time on 30 January 2013. The satellite was put into designated elliptical orbit at 11:09 a.m. Moscow Time. It had been 10 years since Korea began this project, and officials are confident the rocket has been well-maintained.

South Korea began preparations 28 January 2013 for what will be the third launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) by moving the space rocket to its launch pad. The KSLV-1, also known as Naro, was set to blast off Wednesday 30 January 2013 from the country's Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, located 480 kilometers south of Seoul. The rocket was transferred from the assembly complex to the launch pad at around 8:30 on the morning of 29 January 2013 and was wired up with fuel lines and electrical wires. The Naro now stood upright on the launch pad thoroughly inspected and ready for take-off.

The KSLV-1, also known as Naro, is a two-stage space launch vehicle that stands 33.5 meters tall. It has a maximum diameter of 2.9 meters and weighs 140 tons when fully loaded. Without fuel, the rocket weighs 10 tons, with the outer walls being 2 millimeters thick.

The Russian-built first stage rocket uses kerosene as its fuel and liquefied oxygen as its oxidizer. It stands 25.8 meters tall and has one engine operated by a turbo pump system that is capable of generating 170 tons of thrust. The second stage rocket is manufactured in South Korea and uses a solid fuel propulsion system. It has a length of 7.7 meters and has a 7-ton thrust single kick motor engine. The fairing assembly is part of the second stage rocket. The two fairings that cover the scientific satellite during the ascent stage weigh around 300 kilograms and stand 5.3 meters tall. The two fairings are designed to be jettisoned 216 seconds after blastoff.

Naro's payload, the Science and Technology Satellite-2C (STSAT-2C), roughly weighs 100 kilograms and is powered by solar panels that can generate 160 watts of power. It has an operational lifespan of about one year and is equipped with various antennas, sensors, and a femtosecond laser oscillator, which are all designed to test their own functions and capabilities in space. The satellite can orbit the Earth about every 100 minutes, or 14 times a day.

Russia and South Korea had signed an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. They agreed to jointly develop and build a space booster complex for South Korea based on the small-lift KSLV-1 launch vehicle. The KSLV-I contract was signed in October 2004. The first stage of KSLV-I was developed and fabricated in Russia while the second stage and payload were designed and built in S.Korea.

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) is the Customer in KSLV project. The Mocsow-based Khrunichev Space Center is the prime contractor on the Russian side. The other Russian participants include NPO Energomash (designer and builder of the first stage propulsion system) and Transportation Machine-Building Design Bureau (designer of the ground complex). The Russian specialists designed the ground facilities of Naro, S.Koreaís first spaceport, and took part in its construction. The facilities of the Naro Space Center will support space launches and mission control. The first stone for the launch pad was brought from the famed Gagarinís Pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.The first two launches of KSLV-1 took place in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

After the third meeting of the joint (FRB) Failure Review Board [ Russia , South Korea ] on the failure loss of the second KSLV-1 booster it was decided that the third and final KSLV-1 launch attempt would be carried out in 2011. However subsequent to the third meeting of the joint (FRB) Failure Review Board [ Russia , South Korea ] failure to arrive at an answer to the failure a stale mate developed. Khrunichev Center was reluctant to go forward with a third attempted flight at their expense that would cost South Korea 200 billion Won if they paid for it. However Khrunichev refused to acknowledge its potential culpability in the second flight failure bringing into question whether the third flight will ever take place. There were in fact questions and thoughts that the 200 billion Won would better be spent on the independent South Korean KSLV-II program.

The previous second meeting of the FRB reviewed the analysis of the possible scenario causes of the failure. During the third meeting of the FRB review the detailed analysis of the scenarios presented at the second meeting of the FRB they then further agreed to carry out additional test defined to identify the most plausible causes of the launch failure through jointly observed testing and analysis and then carry out the corrections in order to carry out the third flight successfully. No launch schedule is considered possible because of the impact on both countries space programs until the further testing of possible scenarios is completed. One does wonder if the production of hardware might have failed leading to the vehicle’s failed launch.

Once the fourth meeting of the FRB which has not taken place is completed a date for the third launch attempt will be set that all will work to planning wise. Further it was decided that it would be the Russian Federation paying for the third first stage and its fuel for this final launch of the KSLV-1 booster. This was denied by Khrunichev.

The contract is termed in such a way that the Russian side was obligated to pay. By January 2011 Russia had already started to build the next vehicle for Korea. However, a third launch is not scheduled until final conclusions are out on the previous failed launch.

The Khrunichev Space Center completed fabrication and tests of Stage 1 for KSLV-1 (Korea Space Launch Vehicle #1), and processed the flight article for shipment to South Korea. On the night of 23 August 2012, the rail convoy with Stage 1 for KSLV-1 left Moscow for Ulyanovsk.Earlier today, From Ulyanovsk, the cargo will be flown by the Polyot air carrier to the South Korean city/port of Pusan to be then re-directed to the Naro Space Center.

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