Korean Rocket Explodes Shortly After Launch

Some very bad news for South Korea’s fledgling space program, the Yonhap News Agency reports:

A South Korean rocket carrying a scientific satellite is believed to have exploded on Thursday a little more than two minutes after takeoff, the country’s science minister said.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology Ahn Byong-man told reporters that the Naro-1 space rocket appears to have blown up 137 seconds after it lifted off from a space center on the country’s south coast.

“An inboard camera detected a bright flash of light at 137 seconds into the flight, which coincides exactly with the loss of communication with the two-stage rocket,” he said.

The camera located in the second-stage rocket was looking down toward the Earth when it picked up the image.

The first stage of the rocket, built by a Russian company, is also being used as the core of Russia’s new Angara booster. So, it is setback for that nation as well. Angara is set to make its first flight from Russia in two years.