S. Korea readies new bid to join global space club
SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea braced on Thursday for its third attempt to send a satellite into orbit and lay down a national marker in the high-cost world of commercial space technology and exploration.
After two previous failures in 2009 and 2010, the 140-tonne Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-I) was scheduled to blast off some time after 4pm (3pm Singapore time) Thursday from the Naro Space Center on the south coast.
Success will mean a huge boost for South Korea, which is desperate to get its commercial launch programme up and running, and join an elite space club that includes Asian powers China, Japan and India.
"We need to have our own space rocket facilities on our own soil," Korea Aerospace Research Institute scientist Chae Yeon Seok told AFP. "It will play a huge role in securing cutting-edge technology, developing high value-added industries and expanding our presence in the global aerospace market," Mr Chae said.