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(5th LD) S. Korea's first space rocket launch fails to send satellite into orbit

All Headlines 18:48 August 25, 2009

(ATTN: RECASTS title, lead; UPDATES with more details throughout)
By Lee Joon-seung

NARO SPACE CENTER, South Korea, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea failed to send its scientific satellite into orbit after launching its first rocket into space Tuesday.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) blasted off from the Naro Space Center at 5 p.m., with the first and second stage rockets separating as planned, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said.

"All aspects of the launch were normal, but the satellite exceeded its planned orbit and reached an altitude of 360km," said Education and Science Minister Ahn Byong-man. The satellite should have separated at around 302km.

He said experts are currently trying to determine the cause of the excessively high altitude reached by the scientific satellite.

KARI engineers, meanwhile, said that they are trying to track the whereabouts of the satellite and declined to say if contact can be made.

They said that despite the satellite failing to reach proper orbit, the KSLV-1 launch should be seen as a "half success" since the rocket functioned without a glitch.


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