Naro-1 rocket launch set for Friday

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Naro-1 rocket launch set for Friday

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In anticipation of the launch of Korea’s first rocket, Naro-1, Coast Guard vessel No. 3002 leaves Jeju Island and heads to open waters 600 kilometers (372 miles) east of the Philippines yesterday. The rocket, also known as the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, is set to launch Friday and the Coast Guard vessel carries a mobile telemetry system which will be able to track and monitor the rocket. [YONHAP]


The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology indicated yesterday that Korea’s space rocket Naro-1 will still be launched on Friday as scheduled despite government officials raising the possibility of postponing the liftoff due to weather conditions.

Education Minister Lee Ju-ho said at a press briefing yesterday, “The Naro-1 launch steering committee held a meeting to consider the technical aspects and weather forecast conditions and confirmed that the launch is still possible on [Oct.] 26th.”

The Korea Meteorological Administration forecasts Jeju Island and the southern coastal area in South Jeolla to be overcast on Friday, with a possibility of light precipitation in the afternoon.

But the minister stated that preparations for Korea’s third attempt to send the rocket to space will proceed on Friday afternoon as planned and that “if rainfall is likely at the time of the rocket launch, we may still delay the launch.”

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute and the Education Ministry held the third Naro-1 launch steering committee meeting to monitor the weather conditions, space environment and possibility of collision with space debris on the day of the launch.

Naro-1, also called the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 and the first space rocket to be assembled in Korea, is undergoing final preparations at the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute’s Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla. If there are no issues with the final preparation, the rocket will be moved to the launch pad tomorrow and a launch rehearsal will run the following day.

The time of the launch will be announced at 1:30 p.m. on Friday after taking into consideration the weather and space conditions on the day.

The previous two attempts to launch the rocket in August 2009 and June 2010 ended in failure.

Should rainfall prevent liftoff on Friday, the ministry officials stated that the launch may be postponed till next Monday for optimal weather conditions as nationwide rainfall is forecast on Saturday and possibly Sunday.

The Education Ministry last month designated Friday to Oct. 31 as possible launch dates.

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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