Fuel leak halts South Korean rocket launch

Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM
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SEOUL, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- South Korea says it postponed its launch of Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 Friday due to a problem detected only hours before the scheduled liftoff.

The launch of the rocket would be delayed at least three days because of a fuel leak discovered just hours before the scheduled blastoff, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

"A leak has been detected from a connection between the first-stage rocket of the KSLV-1 and the launch pad," said Cho Yul-rae, South Korean vice minister of education, science and technology said.

The first stage of the launch rocket was built by Russia because South Korea currently lacks the appropriate technology.

Russia's Roscosmos space agency called the problem a minor one.

"A decision was made to take the rocket off the launch pad, take it to a test platform and make additional checks," a Roscosmos spokeswoman said.

Experts confirmed a seal in a coupling device connecting the rocket to the launch pad had failed.

"Once the rocket is taken down from the launch pad, the launch date is automatically reset to D-2, as it takes at least two days to prepare for a launch," an official from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said.

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