South Korea Scrubs Satellite Launch

By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2009 5:16 AM CDT
Space officials aborted South Korea's first rocket launch just minutes before liftoff Wednesday. The scheduled launch had threatened to raise North Korea's ire.   (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – South Korea scrubbed a planned satellite launch minutes before liftoff today, citing an unspecified technical error, reports the BBC. Seoul has been itching to join the Asian space race and has already produced 10 satellites for other countries' rockets. But the event had threatened to strain recently improved relations with North Korea, which claims—to the disbelief of South Korea and the US—to have successfully launched a satellite in April.

South Korea wants a space program to compete with China, Japan and India, and is eager to send more astronauts aloft after its first mission on a Russian craft. But officials had cautioned that countries' first satellite launches often fail, and that their rocket, Naro-ho, has had technical problems. This is the seventh time the project, started in 2002 with Russian aid, has been halted.