Alexa

South Korean satellite lost after launch

South Korean satellite lost after launch

A satellite launched by South Korea's first space rocket is thought to have burnt up in the Earth's atmosphere after missing its designated orbit, officials said yesterday.
Seoul vowed to press on with its drive to become a space technology leader despite Tuesday's setback, caused by the defective operation of a fairing covering the satellite.
The science and technology ministry said one of the two aerodynamic fairings covering the rocket's tip failed to fall away, after opening in preparation for the satellite's release.
Because of the fairing's weight the second stage of the rocket could not achieve enough thrust to place the satellite in orbit.
Its speed fell to 6.2 km per second instead of an optimum 8 km per second.
Deputy science minister Kim Jung-Hyun said the extra weight also caused the rocket to steer upwards and the satellite to be released at a higher altitude than planned.
The satellite reached an altitude of 387 km.
"After reaching this height, it fell to Earth and was probably destroyed as it re-entered the atmosphere," Kim said.
South Korea had invested more than 500 billion won (US$400 million) and much national pride in the satellite and the 33-meter rocket.
The first stage was built in collaboration with Russia's Khrunichev space center. The second stage, including the defective fairings, was constructed by local engineers who also built the 100-kg research satellite.
"South Korea was in charge of the separation of fairings while Russia was in charge of overall technical assistance. Therefore the two countries share the responsibility," Kim told reporters.
"Further discussions (with Russia) will be held on this point."
The launch had been delayed seven times since 2005, most notably last week when the countdown was stopped eight minutes before blastoff.
"We can say it was half successful, though the satellite failed to enter orbit," President Lee Myung-Bak told a cabinet meeting Tuesday evening, Lee was quoted by his spokesman as saying.
"We must realize our dream of becoming a leading country in space technology, even if it takes an eighth attempt after seven failures or a ninth attempt after eight failures."
Korea Aerospace Research Institute expert Chae Yeon-Seok was more upbeat.
"Despite the glitch, this was a success as all main systems including the two brand-new first and second-stage rockets operated normally," Chae said.
North Korea, smarting at the U.N. Security Council's censure of its own April 5 rocket launch, had vowed to closely monitor reaction to its neighbor's launch from Goheung on the south coast.


Updated : 2021-04-15 00:07 GMT+08:00