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Naro to be launched as planned

Korea’s first space rocket will be launched Wednesday as originally scheduled despite a partial delay in preparatory work due to technical problems, according to the Korean Aerospace Research Institute.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, also called Naro-1, was placed on the launching pad Monday at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province.

The rocket’s placement on the pad, however, was delayed by five hours and started at 8:55 p.m. as officials detected unstable electronic signals in the first-stage rocket.

“We had to disassemble, analyze and reassemble the Ground Measurement System of the first-stage rocket to fix the unstable electronic signals detected,” said an official from KARI.

The GMS plays a crucial part in the Naro, checking on the projectile before launching and receiving data from it once it is projected from the rocket complex.

The delay caused concerns that a similar technical flaw may lead to another launch failure or, at least, a delay.

The Naro’s departure schedule is to be confirmed only after the rocket is properly erected and finally inspected, said KARI officials late on Monday.

After a late-night inspection, however, the Naro team on Tuesday morning gave the green light and decided to move along with the original schedule.

The rocket is thus to undergo a final rehearsal on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The rehearsal will involve sending electronic signals to all components of the rocket and confirming the feedback, before the actual launching process, said officials.

The actual launching hour will be fixed at around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, in due consideration of the weather, aerial conditions and Tuesday’s rehearsal results.

If the launch ends in failure, the ministry is to set up another date before June 19 for a second try.

Naro’s first launch attempt ended in failure last August as two fairings failed to separate on time. The satellite was consequently unable to gain sufficient velocity (8 kilometers per second) to reach its planned orbit, said experts.

Should Korea succeed in its second launch attempt, it would become the 10th country in the world to launch a satellite from its own soil.

By Bae Hyun-jung  (