Korea Space Launch Vehicle-I Korea Space Launch Vehicle-I (KSLV-I)© Photo Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center
MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) - South Korea canceled the launch of its KSLV-1 carrier rocket on Thursday due to problems in its second stage, the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said.
The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 rocket was due to be launched at 4 p.m. local time, but the countdown was halted with less than 17 minutes left before blast-off.
"Abnormal signals from the thrust vector system” of the rocket’s upper stage were detected, South Korean Vice Minister for Science and Technology Cho Yul-rae was cited by Yonhap as saying.
The launch has been postponed until an as yet undefined date. “The launching process is impossible to resume today,” Cho said.
Russia’s Khrunichev Center built the liquid-fuelled first stage for the rocket under a 2004 agreement. The solid-fuel second stage and payload were designed and built in South Korea.
The 140-ton rocket was to lift off from South Korea's Naro Space Center and orbit a small satellite to collect data on space radiation.
The suspension of the launch is the second failure for the rocket in a month. In October, a launch was canceled due to a fuel leak in its Russian-made RD-191 first-stage rocket motor.
In 2009 the rocket failed to deliver a 100-kilogram oceanic and atmospheric research satellite into orbit. In 2010, another KSLV-1 exploded two minutes after take-off.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).