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S. Korea, Russia fail to pinpoint cause of rocket launch failure

All Headlines 17:17 October 20, 2011

SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Russia failed to agree on the cause of last year's aborted launch of a jointly built space rocket, only offering recommendations that will help prevent all possible causes cited by both sides, the South Korean government said Thursday.

A two-day meeting of the Failure Investigation Group (FIG) was held in Seoul from Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The joint investigation committee was formed shortly after the second launch of South Korea's first space rocket, the Naro-1, ended in a mid-air explosion in June 2010.

At the second FIG meeting, the South Korean side repeated its earlier claim that the explosion was caused by a malfunction in the oxidation and compression systems in the first-stage rocket, built by Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the ministry said in a news release.

The Russian side maintained the flight termination system in the second solid-fuel rocket, built by South Korea's Korea Aerospace Research Institute or KARI, was activated by mistake, and thus causing self destruction.

Instead of continuing seemingly endless debates, the sides agreed to send four recommendations to the countries' joint committee now preparing for a third launch of the space rocket, set for next year, the ministry said.

They include a recommendation for KARI to improve the flight termination system, as well as a recommendation for Russia's Khrunichev center to take all necessary measures to ensure successful functioning of the first-stage rocket.

"The result of the meeting will be forwarded to KARI and Khrunichev, based on which the sides will set up specific measures to ensure success in the third launch of the rocket through the Failure Review Board of South Korea and Russia," the ministry said.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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