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.


Korean Rocket Failed Due to Fairing Problem


Naro failure attributed to fairing problems
Korean Herald

An independent panel — tasked with finding the cause of the partial failure of Korea’s first rocket launch — confirmed yesterday that problems in the nose-fairing caused the satellite to veer off course.


Fairing Failure Doomed South Korean Satellite

Faulty shield eyed as cause of failure to orbit a satellite
JoongAng Daily

Officials yesterday morning stopped trying to detect the first space satellite launched from South Korea, tentatively concluding it had been destroyed by falling back into the atmosphere.


Did Korean Rocket Succeed or Fail?

NASASpaceflight.com say there are conflicting reports as to whether South Korea’s launch of the KSLV-1 (Naro-1) rocket succeeded in placing a satellite into orbit last night:

South Korea had been claiming they had placed their STSAT-2 scientific satellite into orbit on Tuesday, following its launch on their KSLV-1 (Korea Satellite Launch Vehicle) “Naro” rocket. However, Russian officials cited by “Interfax” are claiming the vehicle failed during second stage flight. The launch came after last week’s scrub – caused by a problem during the automated launch sequence, relating to pressurization issue.

The first stage is Russian built; the second was produced in South Korea.

More updates to come.

KSLV-1 Team Leader: Effort Well Worth the Cost


The Hankyoreh has a Q&A interview with KSLV-1 Team Leader Park Jung-joo.

Q: What has Korea gained from technological cooperation with Russia?

A: “If we had tried [to develop the Naro] with our own strength alone, it would have been a formidable task. The first stage was produced by Russia, but we also participated in designing the launch vehicle system and built the launch pad, and Korean businesses participated and designed the orbit and so on. So we were able to gain experience and technology in a wide range of areas. Our engineers all got some experience, and so they realized we can do it ourselves next time. This is important.”

Read the full interview.

KSLV-1 Launch Reset for August 25

S. Korea reschedules first rocket launch for Aug. 25
Yonhap News

South Korea has rescheduled its first space rocket launch from its own territory for Aug. 25 after a technical glitch halted the countdown minutes before blastoff, the government said Friday.


Commentary: Korean-Russian Rocket Deal Stinks


The Naro Fiasco

by Hong Kwon-hee
The Dong-a Ilbo

Contrary to the Korean government’s claim of working together with Russia to develop the phase-one liquid-fuel rocket, Russia is spearheading the project while Korea has just bought the technology. Seoul says it will develop itself 80 percent of the technologies related to the launch pad, but Moscow has apparently declined to hand over design blueprints for the core technology.

The Korean government began the project to develop the rocket in 2002 even without the required technology. It envisioned buying advanced technology or taking a “quantum jump” by unofficially getting the technology from others. Russia, an advanced power in launch vehicle technology with whom Korea forged a partnership in 2005, has not transferred the technology. The Space Technology Protection Treaty signed between both sides at Russia’s request bans the transfer of technology on liquid fuel-powered engines, and has thus deepened Korean dependence on Russian technology. Support for research and development and political and diplomatic efforts are urgently needed to ensure that Korea catch up in space technology and secure technological independence.

Read the full op-ed.

South Korean Rocket Launch Delayed as Rhetoric Heats Up on Peninsula


Glitch forces SKorea to abort rocket launch
The Associated Press

A technical glitch forced South Korea to abort liftoff of its first rocket into space Wednesday, delaying a launch that threatened to heat up tensions with rival North Korea even as they joined in mourning the death of an ex-president who pushed tirelessly for reconciliation.


KSLV-1 (Naro-1) Update

Judging from what I’m seeing from Korean television, the launch of South Korea’s first rocket has been scrubbed. The countdown has been stopped. And the launch tower, which had been lowered for the launch, has been raised back up to the rocket. No word on why yet. At least none that I can decipher.

Live Tweets from the KSLV-1 (Naro-1) Launch

Korean astronaut Soyeon Li (@MsCoolAstro) at the ISU Space Masquerade Party on 9 August 2009.

Korean astronaut Soyeon Yi is Tweeting the KSLV-1 launch:

Bio: Wanna be a Crazy, Sexy & Cool Astronaut


Finish to fill the fuel in NARO…. Thrilling…

Around the rocket “NARO”, we can see the flowing fog from the liquid oxygen… Can feel that NARO will be launched soon…

We prepare the place to burn incense for the former president “Daejung Kim” near launch place.. May his soul rest in peace!

They start to fill Kerosine and liquid oxygen in NARO.. looks all process is fine until now.. ^^

Still have jet-lag… soooo tired.. Even during broadcasting, I’m with MD for getting caffeine…

Now we’ve got report “weather is fine for the launch” phew~
In 2 min, I’ll be on TV for broadcasting of the very 1st Korean rocket “NARO” launch… @.@

Koreans, French Funded New Russian Angara Booster

Russia's new Angara rocket

There’s an interesting sidelight to Wednesday’s upcoming launch of South Korea’s first rocket, KSLV-1 (Nano-1), that gives some valuable insights into how Russia conducts its space business.

The Russian-made lower-stage is actually the first stage of that nation’s new Angara family of rockets. The Korean government paid for the development, although the Russians are not sharing any of the technical details with them. (The Koreans have built the KSLV’s second stage using their own technologies.)


South Korean Rocket Prepared for Launch


S. Korea’s first rocket set up on launch pad
Yonhap News

S. Korea’s first space rocket has been safely put onto its launch pad ahead of its historic launch scheduled for this week, the state-run aerospace institute said Monday.


South Korea to Launch First Rocket on August 19


Naro space rocket to be launched next Wednesday

The Korean Herald

The country’s first space rocket, Naro, or the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, will be launched Wednesday next week, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said yesterday.


South Korea’s New Rocket: Made in Russia (Partly)

Peter J. Brown has a great analytical piece about South Korea’s new Naro-1 (KSLV-1) rocket, which is set for its inaugural launch in the next week.

Brown delves into Seoul’s prickly 6-year partnership with the Russians, who built the first stage of the two-stage vehicle. Despite being on the verge of the first launch, the relationship with Russia has soured a bit over delivery delays and by Khrunichev’s refusal to share information about the first stage due to tech transfer concerns.