South Korea’s first space rocket fails to reach full orbit


South Korea launched a rocket into space from its own territory for the first time on Tuesday but failed to reach proper orbit, TV reports said.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), also known as Naro-1, blasted off at 5 p.m. from an island off the south coast and had to separate from a research satellite at an altitude of 306 km. Instead, the rocket moved at a height of 340 km.

Last week, the launch was halted at the last minute because of technical problems.

The 108-foot-long rocket, which has been developed with the assistance of Russia, costs about 502.5 billion won ($400 million).

Since 1992, the country has launched 11 satellites from overseas sites, all on foreign-made rockets. In April 2008, Seoul sent its first astronaut aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.