Don’t give up on space quest

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Don’t give up on space quest

The second launch of the Naro-1, South Korea’s first space rocket, failed as it exploded a few minutes after liftoff at 5:01 p.m. on Thursday, another setback after the first botched mission in August last year.

Live television cameras recorded the rocket blowing up 70 kilometers (43 miles) in the air, 137 seconds after blastoff, with viewers nationwide witnessing the tragic scene.

According to the camera aboard, a bright light flashed, suggesting the Naro-1 blew apart while still using its first-stage rocket booster, said Education, Science and Technology Minister Ahn Byung-man. It appears we will have to delay our dreams of space a little longer.

The government and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute gave the impression that they rushed forward with the expedition. The planned liftoff on Wednesday was put off due to a malfunction in the fire protection system.

Then there was a fiasco with a Russian engineer attempting suicide. Many were surprised to hear that the launch would go forward the following day.

But there is no use pointing fingers. Our quest for space cannot stop here. We are not the only ones to fail time after time in our journey into space. Japan’s attempts fell through four times, and Brazil experienced three explosions before joining the club of countries that successfully blasted off rockets from their soil. Our contract with Russia guarantees one more launch.

We should not allow our heads to droop because of successive failures. We must come right back up. Failure sows firm ground for success. We must investigate thoroughly the cause of the explosion and learn from the failures to succeed in the third blastoff.

Our space aspirations can only be realized when they are accompanied by three elements - the unfailing passion of the scientists, full support from the government and continuous interest from the public.

More than 200 scientists and engineers have for years put their blood and sweat into this project. They must be the most disappointed by the latest failure.

A space program should not be evaluated based on its financial costs, as it carries our dreams and hopes for the future. Our society must muster its spirit and move on with the project. Our history has been laden with battles and trials, and we have overcome them every time. We must not give up on our dreams of space.
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