Russia once again led the world in orbital launches in 2013, keeping the International Space Station supplied with a study stream of crew members and cargo while earning hard currency with commercial satellite launches.
Although the vast majority of Russia’s launches were successful, the spectacular failure in July of a Proton rocket — which nosedived into the ground shortly after liftoff — accelerated efforts to reform the nation’s failure-prone space program. By the end of the year, the Russian space agency Roscosmos had a new leader and a major effort was underway to consolidate a large part of the bloated and inefficient space sector under a single government-owned company.
During 2013, Russia introduced a new variant of its venerable Soyuz rocket while also making progress on constructing a new spaceport in the Far East and developing a larger human spacecraft to replace the Soyuz transport and a heavy-lift booster to facilitate deep space exploration.
South Korea once again aborted the planned launch of the KSLV-1 rocket due to a problem with the domestically-built upper stage, according to media reports. This will likely delay the launch into next year.
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said that it will determine the next launch date after a thorough inspection of the KSLV-1, but it is unlikely that the liftoff will take place this year as the current launch deadline is scheduled to end on Dec. 5. Engineers say it will take at least four to five days to figure out what went wrong and fix it.
South Korea could attempt a launch of the delayed Naro-1 (KSLV-1) rocket on November 29 after a replacement part for the launch vehicle’s Russian supplied first stage was delivered to the Naro Launch Center, ITAR-TASS reports.
The replacement part, which is a rubber seal in the connector between the Russian-build first-stage rocket of Naro-1 and the launch pad, was delivered to South Korea on Saturday and is already at the Naro space complex in the south of the Korean Peninsula (480 km south of Seoul).
Engineers later confirmed the damage to the seal had been caused by what they called a “gap” between the seal and the connector’s steel component, forcing them to replace not only the damaged seal, but also the defective part of the connector.
Engineers will replace the defective part and within several days will complete the check of the rocket’s systems.
The damaged seal forced officials to scrub a planned launch on Oct. 26. The first stage is built by the Russian company Khrunichev.
This is the third and final attempt to launch the rocket, which is fitted with a South Korean-built second stage and a research satellite. The first two launch attempts failed.
South Korea is hoping the third time is a charm for the Naro-1 rocket, which crashed in it first two launch attempts:
Korea will make its third and last attempt to launch a homegrown space rocket between Oct. 26 and 31 depending on the weather. The launch comes two years and four months after the second one failed on June 10, 2010….
The rocket will be taken to the launch pad on Oct. 24. The space center will conduct a final rehearsal the following day and make a final decision at 11 p.m. the same day when and whether to launch the rocket….
Moscow, August 22, 2012 (Khrunichev PR) — The Khrunichev Space Center have 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.
Earlier today, the manufacturer has started transfer of the shipping container with Stage 1 onto a rail convoy to ship this stage to the City of Ulyanovsk within the next few days. 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.
MOSCOW (Khrunichev PR) — At the State Research and Production Space Center Khrunichev, bench tests are being conducted on the first stage of the light-class KSLV-1 rocket.
After completing the tests the company’s specialists will prepare the product for shipment to South Korea’s space center Naro where the rocket KSLV-1 will undergo pre-launch preparations.
The shipment of the rocket to South Korea is scheduled for August 2012. The third launch of KSLV-1 from the launch pad at the National Space Centre Naro is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
MOSCOW (Khrunichev PR) —In the Khrunichev Space Center are close to completing work on the creation of the first stage for the South Korean rocket KSLV-light class 1. In July, scheduled for the test stage to control the test stand of the plant, and in August to implement sending the product to South Korea.
The third launch of KSLV-1 launch pad with the National Space Centre “Naro” is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
Cooperation of South Korea and Russia in the field of missile technology has been going on for eight years. In 2004 a contract was signed for the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) for the development and creation of space rocket with a booster light class KSLV.
Editor’s Note: Both parties are hoping that the third time will be a charm. The first launch failed after the payload shroud didn’t jettison. The second launch vehicle exploded, for reasons that the Russians and Koreans could not agree upon. There is a dispute over whether the Russian first stage or the Korean second stage was at fault.
The Russian stage is powered by a scaled-down version of the engine that will be used in the new Angara rocket, which is set to make its debut in the second quarter of 2013.
South Korean and Russian engineers remain at odds over what caused the Naro-1 rocket to fail just 137 seconds after liftoff on June 10, 2010, according to an Oct. 20 report from the Yonhap news agency. The booster, which includes a Russian first stage and South Korean second stage, lifted off safely from the Naro Space Center but failed in flight.
South Korea and Russia failed to agree on the cause of last year’s aborted launch of a jointly built space rocket, only offering recommendations that will help prevent all possible causes cited by both sides, the South Korean government said Thursday.
An earlier Naro-1 launch failed in August 2009. Both stages worked well, but the fairing protecting the South Korean satellite failed to separate. The satellite and fairing fell into the ocean. A third test launch is tentatively planned for next year.
The Korea Times has a story about the stalemate between KARI and Russiaâ€™s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center over a possible third launch of the KSLV-1 (Naro-1) rocket, which has failed in its only two launch attempts.
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) â€œNaroâ€ rocket. However, Russian officials cited by â€œInterfaxâ€ are claiming the vehicle failed during second stage flight. The launch came after last weekâ€™s scrub â€“ 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.