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South Korea halts rocket launch minutes before lift-of

KSLV-1

The launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) is postponed minutes before lift-off. The exact reason of the halt was not been announced. However, the problem is rumored to be a technical glitch.

The launch was stopped Wednesday exactly 7 minutes and 56 seconds before the firing.

It was not immediately known why the launch was halted. The South Korean government said that it will announce the reason of the launch delay.

The rocket was scheduled to lift off at 5 p.m. (Seoul Time) following a final review of preparations and weather conditions.

South Korea spent 502.5 billion won ($402.4 million) on the 140-ton KSLV-1, which stands 33 meters tall and has a diameter of 2.9 meters. Its main first stage liquid-fuel rocket, made in Russia, can generate 170 tons of thrust, with the second stage rocket, made domestically, able to generate 8 tons of thrust and designed to place a satellite into orbit.

Experts at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said that while the first stage of the KSLV-1 was made in Russia, South Korea has gained valuable know-how that can enable it to make a powerful indigenous rocket able to carry a 1.5 ton payload into space by 2018.

South Korea plans to launch a second KSLV-1 rocket in April 2010, with work to begin on developing an engine with 75 tons of thrust.

In the long run, the country aims to build an unmanned space probe that can reach the moon by 2025.

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