S. Korea Rocket May Have Exploded

SEOUL, June 10 (UPI) — South Korea’s space satellite rocket, launched Thursday after being called off the previous day, vanished shortly after takeoff, officials said.

Science Minister Ahn Byong-man later told reporters the Naro-1 space rocket may have exploded 137 seconds after lifting off from a space center on the country’s south coast, Yonhap news agency reported.

The rocket’s scheduled launch was postponed Wednesday due to problems in the launch pad’s fire extinguisher system.

“An inboard camera detected a bright flash of light at 137 seconds into the flight, which coincides exactly with the loss of communication with the two-stage rocket,” Minister Ahn said.

South Korean officials and Russian experts who made the first-stage rocket were trying to determine why the rocket vanished, the report said.

The launch was South Korea’s second try to place a satellite in orbit. In the first attempt in August 2009, the rocket reached orbit but a malfunction prevented sending the satellite into orbit.

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