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S. Korea not to rush space rocket launch
SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Monday that it will not hurriedly push to fire what could be its first space rocket successfully launched from its own soil within this year as it needs a sufficient amount of time to analyze the exact cause of the problems behind the botched attempt last week.

   The countdown was halted less than 17 minutes from the scheduled launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 last Thursday due to problems detected in its upper second-stage rocket. This marked the second time that the country's third attempt to fire off a space rocket has been delayed.

   The country's two earlier attempts to launch the space rocket in 2009 and 2010 ended in failures.

   The science and technology ministry and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute held a meeting earlier in the day and decided to spend a sufficient amount of time to analyze the cause of the problems and also conduct comprehensive checks on the whole second-stage rocket, officials said.

   It will take more than a month to complete all of the tasks, they said, suggesting that the launch of the space rocket also known as the Naro will not take place at least until the end of this year.

   The Naro is a two-stage rocket with the Russian-built first stage and a South Korean-developed second stage rocket. The space program began in 2002 as there was a growing need for South Korea to deliver satellites into space on its own.

   When the launch was halted last week, the government said that it made the decision as abnormal signals from the thrust vector system of the upper (second) stage rocket of Naro were detected.

   According to government officials, scientists from South Korea and Russia are still looking into what exactly caused the problems in the area, which are known to closely relate to the ability of an aircraft or rocket to manipulate the direction of thrust from its engine.

   kokobj@yna.co.kr
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