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Korea's space rocket launch delayed due to technical glitch

South Korea postponed its launch of a space rocket Friday due to a problem that was detected only hours before its scheduled liftoff.

   Cho Yul-rae, vice minister of education, science and technology, said the launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) will be delayed at least three days.

   "A leak has been detected from a connection between the first-stage rocket of the KSLV-1 and the launch pad," Cho told a press briefing.

   The problem was detected during a final inspection of the space rocket, also known as Naro-1, which was earlier scheduled to be launched between 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

   The first-stage rocket of the Naro-1 was built by Russia, as South Korea currently lacks the related technology.

   An injection of helium to check for any leaks pointed to a loss of pressure, raising suspicions of a possible leak. Russian experts later confirmed, after visually inspecting the rocket, that a seal had broken off, according to Cho.

   The problem requires the removal of the rocket from the launch pad to have its broken seal replaced and further inspected at an assembly complex at the Naro Space Center, located 480 kilometers south of Seoul.

   "Once the rocket is taken down from the launch pad, the launch date is automatically reset to D-2, as it takes at least two days to prepare for a launch," an official said.

   "If the problem is easily fixed, it could take three days from now to launch the rocket. But if the problem is more complicated than we currently suspect, it might take more time." (Yonhap)

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