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(LEAD) S. Korea to launch the nation's first rocket on Aug. 11

All Headlines 16:33 August 01, 2009

(ATTN: RECASTS lead to clarify that it's first rocket launched from South Korean soil)

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Saturday it will launch its first space rocket from its soil on Aug. 11 to put a communications satellite into orbit after a delay last month due to technical problems.

South Korea had originally planned to lift off the KSLV-1 rocket on July 30 but it was suspended as Russia asked for more time to upgrade the test control and evaluation programs needed for the critical test.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said the new launch date was set after consultations with Russian scientists who are cooperating with South Korea on the launch.

"South Korea and Russia will jointly conduct a final review before moving the rocket to the launch pad two days before the date," a ministry official said. "There will be a dry run one day before the final countdown starts."

The ministry said it will aim to meet the launch date but said unexpected technical problems or weather conditions could cause a change in plans. It set a window of Aug. 11-18, and plans to notify both the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization.

South Korea has never launched a rocket before from its soil. The country is working with Russia to acquire technology and expertise that could allow it to send locally made space vehicles into orbit in the future.

The rocket will be fired from the Naro Space Center, located 485km south of Seoul, which was built to launch the KSLV-1 and future rockets.

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