Korea is likely to make its third attempt to launch its first-ever space rocket in mid-November at the earliest after being forced to postpone it hours before liftoff due to a technical glitch, officials said Saturday.
On Friday, Korea postponed its latest attempt to launch the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), also known as Naro-1, after a potential fuel leak was detected during the final inspection.
Officials at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said the rocket’s launch preparation committee is set to hold a meeting early next week to discuss the launch rescheduling.
Considering that it takes at least three days to prepare for a launch, a meeting next week means that the actual launch cannot be done before a five-day window set by officials to launch the rocket ends on Wednesday.
Officials said the launch would be possible in mid-November at the earliest, because pertinent international organizations must be informed of the schedule in advance. Seven to 10 days are usually needed for the procedures, they said.
Korea’s latest attempt to launch the space rocket, which was built with the help of Russia, came to a halt after a leak was detected in a joint between the first-stage rocket and the launch pad, according to engineers from both sides.
An injection of helium to check for any leaks pointed to a loss of pressure, raising suspicions of a possible leak. Following an investigation, officials later confirmed that a seal in a coupling device had been damaged.
Korean and Russian technicians held a meeting earlier in the day and concluded further investigation is necessary in order to fully comprehend the exact cause of the seal damage.
The planned launch is South Korea’s third attempt to send a space rocket after its two attempts in August 2009 and June 2010 ended in failure.