ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on August 25th, 2009 at 5:45 am

South Korea Launches First Rocket Into Space, But Has Problem with Satellite Orbit

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 North Korea 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.

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  • maui
    11:05 pm on August 24th, 2009 1

    ;-) Great launch..

    :shock: Bad Seperation…

    Keep trying…hell we didn't get it right the first time.

  • Leon LaPorte
    11:13 pm on August 24th, 2009 2

    It's an impressive feat for any nation to get a rocket into space else wise everyone would be doing it. So the satellite didn't orbit properly? At least they got it most of the way there. Good job. :cool:

    /…insert comment about Korea's unique orbital situation here…

  • Jeff
    12:21 am on August 25th, 2009 3

    Dae Han Minkook! More Kimchee and Bachus! I think they should keep at it.

  • Dr.Yu
    4:13 am on August 25th, 2009 4

    The funny about this failure is that it is not a bad think to Korea at all, since Korea is gaining more experience with the failure than with the success.

    Let´s keep trying and get as much as possible from the russians.

    We still have to stick the Korean flag in mars before the Russians and the Americans (and the japanese of course) :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    11:02 am on August 25th, 2009 5

    The South Koreans are definitely going to keep at it. They have to much invested in this program not to and has history has shown when Koreans put their mind to doing something they will do it. With the well known Korean stubborness and hard work I'm sure they will get a successful launch program established.

  • JoeC
    11:19 am on August 25th, 2009 6

    I guess you were being sarcastic from the :lol: :lol: :lol:. Since the U.S., Europe and I think Russia have put a number of unmanned vehicles on Mars, that by planting a flag you mean a manned landing.

    I think the last U.S. administration was playing politics when it promised to put a man on Mars in 15 years since it obviously would not be accomplished during their term and no serious funding was giving to it. Scientists are even debating if a human flight to Mars is safely possible with any technology we know of today. We don't know if we can protect a crew from the cosmic rays and radiation they will be subjected to in open space for that period of time.

    As far a what the Korean space industry can learn from working with the Russians, I understand that the Russians built the first stage exclusively, which apparently was successful. The Koreans built the second stage with some technical assistance from the Russians which apparently was where the problem occurred on this launch.

    From what I understand, the first stage is Russia's next generation booster that they plan to use on their new rockets. They want to keep it proprietary told Korea their would be no technology transfer from it. So even if Korea works out the problems with their second stage, they still have to find a way to independently develop a

    reliable first stage.

    Finally, as far as trust, let's not forget what happened with the Korean astronaut training program when Korea's first planned astronaut was sent home from the Russian training center after he was accused of taking home some proprietary Russian training documents.

    That means an independent Korean space program still has many hurdles and a long way to go.

  • JoeC
    11:22 am on August 25th, 2009 7

    This was a reply to #4. BTW, a more complete article on the background of this launch can be read at

  • dongfelder
    11:23 am on August 25th, 2009 8

    I think we all know what really happened. The rocket shaft was inadequete.

  • Dr.Yu
    12:07 am on August 26th, 2009 9


    Obvioulsy I was being sarcastic. Korea was unable to put its first step into space, how would than dare to dream about putting a flag in mars.

    I was just trying to find some fun out of this "disgrace".

    The cooperation with Russia is not working as we dream about but it's still better than working alone. Korea is starting from zero, so as for now any knowledge is a precious asset.

  • Leon LaPorte
    2:34 am on August 26th, 2009 10

    Since the Koreans are working with the Russians, they are not starting from scratch… More embarrassing is the fact that once the shuttle is retired, Americans will have to rely upon the Russians for a ride to space until the Ares program (simply an upgrade of Apollo and shuttle tech, 60's and 70's – 40 year old tech) takes off. What has happened to us?

    I was born a few months before man landed on the moon, and it is looking like I will die before we go back. What a future full of promise wasted. Hell, the Chinese might get there first this time. They have the dedication and our dollars…

    The future is truly "out there". Sad sad sad…

    As much money as our government wastes and truly inspiring activities like the space program are funded somewhere on the order of .37 cents for every American per year. I'd gladly contribute much more for such a noble cause. You grow, or you die.

  • Avatar of USinKoreaUSinKorea
    3:40 am on August 26th, 2009 11

    I do wonder, what is the practical line for SK doing this?

    The North wants to prove its missile capability to help sales of its product to rogue nations who can't buy from the US and aren't supposed to buy from the likes of Russian and China. North Korea also wants to gain and prove the basic ability of hitting somewhere/anywhere in the US with even a crude, workable nuclear devise. I get their effort.

    Why is SK doing it beyond national prestige and matching missiles with the North?

    I can't picture anything too practical coming out of it. Are there technology spin-offs they will develop in the native industry that will help economically? I can't picture it being done for direct economic gains: they will have to compete against other more developed and stronger industry leaders who dominate the market, and I can't picture SK's industry taking a big chunk out of the market. We're not talking cellphones here…

    And they aren't saving much by launching their own satellites by having to pour resources into the development of the technology to do it.

    So, what it the bottom line, practical motivation for Korea doing this – outside of possible geopolitical gains against the North?

    My guess at this uninformed moment is that the development of the technology and other things needed to be successful upgrades technology that can be used in more areas and in areas where Korean can compete on the global market like it does with its current industry…and maybe Korea doesn't have much luck getting these technology upgrades from its competitors and needs to attempt it this way….That's my wild guess, because I can't see other practical gains for having this program…

  • Brian
    4:45 am on August 26th, 2009 12

    By the look of the satellite at

    I think the payload is dummy, part of the experiment whether the rocket can carry its designated payload and to send signal that seperation from rocket was a success.

  • Brian
    4:48 am on August 26th, 2009 13

    Reminder, when Israel launched its first commercial rocket, it also carried a dummy satellite and it failed in the first launch. In fact Israel's first rocket suffered same problem as Korea did.

  • Dr.Yu
    4:53 am on August 26th, 2009 14

    Thanks for the pictures Brian.

    It was a failure indeed, but I'm still positive about Korean space program.

    Soon we will have to develop space Kimchi for our astronauts.

  • Leon LaPorte
    9:25 am on August 26th, 2009 15

    It has already been taken care of. Behold:


  • Dr.Yu
    11:42 am on August 26th, 2009 16


    The space will never smell be the same from now on.

    That´s clever, developing space Kimchi before developing the Rockets.

  • Brian
    12:59 pm on August 26th, 2009 17



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