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Naro Rocket on Track for Wednesday Launch

Posted June. 08, 2010 08:43,   


The Korean space launch vehicle Naro (KSLV-I) was put on the launch pad Monday for the third time following launch attempts on Aug. 17 and Aug. 23 last year.

Lee Joo-jin, the head of Korea Aerospace Research Institute, said, “Naro was put on the launch pad at 6 p.m.,” indicating finished preparations for the countdown and Korea`s emergence as a rocket technology leader. Barring extraordinary weather changes, the launch will proceed as scheduled Wednesday.

The spacecraft was moved in a vibration-resistant vehicle to the launch pad 1.5 kilometers away from the comprehensive assembly building of Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, at 8:15 a.m. Naro was moved at the speed of one kilometer per hour on the steep and twisty mountainous road to reach the launch pad at 9:32 a.m.

The spacecraft was then horizontally placed on the launch pad, fuel was injected, and the Naro was connected to electric cable that will transmit orders from mission control.

Researchers used an erector to make Naro stand vertically at 6 p.m. The vehicle weighed about 10 tons. When fuel (kerosene) and oxidant (liquid oxygen) are filled in the first-stage liquid rocket on launch day, it will weigh 140 tons by the time of launch.

A rehearsal will be made in the same order of the launch day Tuesday. Checks will ensure whether electric signals are properly transmitted for six hours from 11 a.m. for the first stage of the Naro, and for four hours from 1:30 p.m. for the second stage.

On launch day, weather conditions will be checked four hours before launch and oxidants will be fueled. When the final launch decision is made 20 minutes before launching, a computer will automatically begin the 15-minute countdown.

As long as the computer detects no abnormalities in the launch system and proceeds with the countdown, Naro will put the second Scientific Technology Satellite into a 300-kilometer orbit 540 seconds after launch.

The exact launch time will be announced at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Education, Science and Technology Ministry will set the time after studying the rehearsal results the day before launch, weather conditions on launch day, solar activities, and the time zone where space objects could collide.

The expected time is between 4:30 p.m. and 6:40 p.m., and the launch is highly likely to take place at 5 p.m. like last year.

The weather will probably be a non-factor as well. The Korea Meteorological Administration forecast clear weather with slight winds at Naro Space Center for Wednesday. The prediction is in the range of 17-24 degrees at the center and showers and lightning are unlikely since the weather service said the climate has stabilized.