Korean Launch Attempt Tentatively Scheduled for January 30

Heading Back to the PadCredit :KARI

Heading Back to the Pad
Credit :KARI

Source: Chosun Media

South Korea will try once again to launch its beleaguered KSLV rocket, with another attempt tentatively scheduled for late January.   The rocket, which is also called Naro, has suffered two previous flight failures.  The third and final vehicle under the collaborative program which features a Russian liquid fueled first stage and a Korean solid fuel second stage, was originally scheduled to launch on October 26th, but was delayed due to a problem with a leaking fuel block on the first stage, which had to be replaced. The second attempt, on November 29th, was called off because of a problem with the second stage thrust vector control.

Events took a profoundly embarrassing turn on December 12, when North Korea succeeded in launching a small satellite into orbit,  jumping ahead of its southern neighbor with whom it is still technically at war.

Dependent on weather, which has been unusually harsh in Asia this winter, the next attempt will most likely take place between 3:55 and 7:30 pm local time on January 30.  Following the most recent delay, some concerns have been raised regarding the solid fuel for the second stage, which was cast in 2008.  KARI, the Korean space agency states that it tested a batch mixed five months previous that which is in the motor, and deemed it acceptable.

Even if it is succesful, this will be the final flight attempt for the KSLV, which is likely to stand as a curious footnote in the history of launch vehicle development, as a troubled collaboration  between the world’s oldest and most regular spacefaring nation and one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries, yet was ultimately trumped in this narrow regard by a repressive closed society which cannot generate enough electricity to light its night, or grow enough food to nourish its people.

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