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SEOUL: South Korea cancelled the launch of its first space rocket yesterday after a glitch in the propulsion system halted the countdown just minutes before the scheduled lift-off.
It was South Korea’s third attempt to put a rocket into orbit and the second time this particular mission has failed.
October’s scheduled launch was also called off due to a glitch in the Russian-built booster. No new launch schedule has been set.
“We are currently analysing the cause and expect it will take additional time to identify the exact cause,” Lee Joo-ho, Minister of Education, Science and Technology told reporters.
South’s rocket programme has irritated neighbour North Korea, which says it is unjust for it to be singled out for UN sanctions for launching long-range rockets as part of its space programme to put a satellite into orbit.
Regional powers believe the North’s rocket launches are to test its long-range ballistic missiles, in violation of a UN ban. The North’s latest rocket test in April ended in failure after it crashed minutes into flight.
South Korea is already far behind regional rivals China and Japan in the effort to build space rockets to put satellites into orbit and has relied on other countries to launch them.