South Korean rocket may have crashed

A South Korean rocket which was launched yesterday has crashed, a local news station reports.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle 1, or Naro-1, was launched a day late after fire safety equipment malfunctioned. It blasted off successfully, but contact was lost just two minutes later as the rocket reached a height of about 43 miles.

The rocket was carrying an observation satellite designed to study global warming, which was due to separate from the rocket nine minutes after takeoff.

At first, Korea’s Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) was hopful that communication might be regained, and that the satellite might even have been placed in orbit as planned.

But according to local news channel YTN, Naro-1 crashed shortly after take-off after veering off-course.

It’s another blow for KARI. Last summer, its first attempt to put a domestic satellite into space came to nothing when Naro-1’s nose cone failed to open so that the satellite could be released into orbit.

The first stage of the 140-ton rocket was made by Russia’s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, while the second stage and satellite were developed and built by KARI.