The Naro-1 rocket after many delays has finally lifted off from South Korea’s space center, but not everything has gone as planned:
South Korea‘s first rocket blasted off into space Tuesday following an aborted attempt last week and just months after its rival drew international ire for its own launch.
A problem quickly surfaced, however, when space officials said that an initial investigation showed that the satellite the rocket was carrying apparently failed to enter its intended orbit.
Science and Education Minister Ahn Byong-man told reporters that South Korean and Russian scientists were looking into the problem. It was not immediately clear whether the problem jeopardizes the success of the launch.
The launch of the two-stage Naro rocket could boost the country’s space ambition but the North warned it would keep a close eye on the international response to Seoul‘s launch.
South Korea initially planned to launch the rocket in late July but delayed it several times due to technical glitches. Last Wednesday, the country aborted the launch plan just minutes before the scheduled blast off.
But Tuesday the rocket lifted off from the country’s space center on Oenaro Island, about 290 miles (465 kilometers) south of Seoul, around 5 p.m. (0800 GMT, 4 a.m. EDT).
It is South Korea’s first launch of a rocket from its own territory. Since 1992, it has launched 11 satellites, all on foreign-made rockets sent from overseas sites.
The rocket, built with Russian help, was carrying a domestically built satellite aimed at observing the atmosphere and ocean. [Associated Press]
North Korea didn’t have much to say about the launch because they are currently on their charm offensive and bringing out all their usual useful idiots in order to get a payoff for little or nothing in return.
What I am interested to see is what is going to happen to the satellite. If they fail to get the satellite into orbit and falls back down to the Earth, that would be a major setback for the South Korean space program.