South Korea Space Attempt Stalled Again
July 20, 2009

South Korea has once again postponed the launch of its first space rocket due to technical reasons, a spokesman for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute has stated.

South Korea's KSLV-1 launch vehicle Russian counterparts building the first stage of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 had called for more time for testing, said spokesman Kim Hong-Gab. The launch date was previously set for on or around July 30, depending on the weather. This is the third time South Korea has postponed the much-touted launch. Blast-off was delayed from late 2008 to late June this year after China's Sichuan earthquake last year caused problems in securing key parts. The launch was again delayed until late July to give engineers more time for tests.

Seoul plans to launch a satellite weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) into a low earth orbit from the Naro Space Centre in Goheung, 475 kilometres (300 miles) south of Seoul. North Korea in April fired a rocket to, it claimed, launch a satellite — but the United States and its allies say that launch was really intended to test a long-range missile. South Korea is more than eager to join Asia's space race. In November 2007, the country announced a plan to launch a lunar orbiter by 2020 and send a probe to the moon five years after that. South Korea unveiled the project just one month after China launched its first lunar orbiter and two months after Japan accomplished the same mission. In April last year, Seoul sent its first astronaut into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.