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Naro space rocket launch likely on Nov. 29

South Korea will likely launch a space rocket next Thursday, the government said Monday, two days after the arrival of a replacement for a defective part in the rocket partly built by Russia.

“When considering the time needed to thoroughly examine the new part and prepare for a launch, Nov. 29 is technically the most suitable for a third launch of the Naro rocket,” the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said in a press release.

The ministry added the Launch Preparation Committee will be convened this Thursday to decide when the third and last scheduled launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, also known as Naro-1, will take place.

Seoul earlier sought to fire the KSLV-1 on Oct. 26, but a broken rubber seal in the connector between the Russian-build first-stage rocket of Naro-1 and the launch pad forced it to postpone the launch indefinitely.

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.

The replacement of the defective part arrived here from Russia on Saturday, the ministry said earlier.

The upcoming launch of the KSLV-1 will be South Korea’s third attempt to send a rocket into space from its own soil. Two earlier attempts in August 2009 and June 2010 ended in failures. (Yonhap News)