SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- A national space committee endorsed Thursday the country's third attempt to launch its first space rocket later in the year.
Under the launch plan, the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), also known as Naro-1, will be launched in October, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said in a press release.
"With the approval of the launch plan, the ministry and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute can now start preparing for the launch, and the third launch of Naro-1 will take place in October as planned," it said.
The country's first two attempts to put a space rocket and satellite into the Earth's orbit took place in August 2009 and June 2010, but they both failed to accomplish their goals. In the first launch, the rocket reached orbit, but faulty release mechanisms prevented proper deployment of the small scientific satellite. During the second attempt, the Naro-1 rocket exploded during ascent due to what was later determined as problems in the rocket's electrical system.
The country's first-ever space rocket is being developed jointly with Russia, which is building the first-stage main launch booster while South Korea is in charge of the smaller solid fuel second-stage rocket that will house the satellite.
Following a successful launch of the Naro-1, South Korea plans to begin developing an indigenous space rocket, the KSLV-2, under a three-stage space program that calls for the development of a 10-ton thrust engine by 2014 and a 75-ton thrust engine by 2018.