Thu, Aug 20, 2009 - Page 5 News List

S Korea delays rocket launch minutes before lift-off

REUTERS , SEOUL

South Korea aborted the launch of its first space rocket about eight minutes before its scheduled lift-off yesterday due to a technical glitch.

Officials believe a problem with one of the tanks may have triggered an automatic abort system and said fuel had been removed from the booster rocket, indicating at least several days are needed to prepare it again for launch.

The launch was expected to rile Pyongynag, which was hit by UN sanctions after it fired off a long-range rocket in April in what was widely seen as a disguised missile test.

The countdown was halted by the automated launch system and engineers would be sifting through data to look for the cause of the glitch, a space agency official said.

“There was loss of pressure in the high-pressure tank that operates the launch vehicle valves,” Lee Sang-mok, a science ministry official overseeing the project, told a news briefing.

South Korea, which has relied on other countries to launch its satellites, had planned to send a domestically built scientific satellite into orbit on the rocket called the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, also known as Naro-1.

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