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Glitch Suspends Launch of Space Rocket Naro

Posted August. 20, 2009 08:21,   


The launch of the country`s first rocket Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, or Naro, was halted yesterday just eight minutes prior to blastoff due to a technical problem. The launch was scheduled for 5 p.m.

Launch control at the Naro Space Center of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said, “The launch was canceled due to a technical problem in the launch vehicle’s automated sequence system,” adding more investigation is needed to identify the exact cause of the delay.

The automated sequence system is an automatic launch program through which engineers conduct final checks on fuel, pressure and temperature of engines, and the vehicle’s mechanical and electric systems.

When the countdown sequence begins, pre-input programs start operations to launch the rocket at a scheduled time automatically. If an error is detected 3.8 minutes before the launch, the countdown stops and the launch is immediately suspended.

The institute said a glitch occurred shortly after the countdown began at 4:45 p.m. while pre-input programs were operating.

After the suspension, the rocket was re-connected to an erector and kerosene and liquid oxygen were extracted from its fuel storage. Engineers accessed the rocket at 9 p.m. to conduct necessary work.

Institute head Lee Ju-jin said, “We removed kerosene from the first launcher. Along with Russia, the co-developer of the KSLV-1, we are studying what the exact cause of the suspension was.”

The re-launch will be postponed until the cause of the problem is found. As rain is expected on the scheduled re-launch day today, the launch will be further delayed.

Several experts predicted a long delay, with one saying, “It’s doubtful whether the extracted fuel can be re-used,” adding, “If additional fuel is unavailable, the launch will be delayed for a long time.”