By Cho Mu-hyun
GOHEUNG, South Jeolla Province ― The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said Tuesday that the final run through for the launch of the locally assembled Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-1), popularly called Naro, took place without any hitch, giving the green light for the rocket's liftoff today.
KARI conducted the final rehearsal from 9 a.m. to around 4 p.m. The institute mainly tested the radio reception from the launch pad, the first and second stages, and the tracking system. Fuel is not pumped in to the rocket during this period, but all other procedures of the actual launch are simulated.
The final launch time will be announced by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology at 1p.m., and is likely to be around 4 p.m.
"No problem has been detected as of this time that will hamper the launch," said a KARI official. "All the engineers are concentrating hard to make sure there are no emergencies."
The institute also commenced the preparation of the fuel and compressed air to be used during the launch at the storage supply equipment building near the rocket, readying it to be injected on launch day.
Weather forecasters say there will be only slight cloud that won't impede the launch.
This will be the third attempt after two delays to put Naro into space.
In November, a malfunction of the thrust vector on the second stage caused a halt only 16 minutes before launch. Similarly, the month before, a broken seal caused a fuel leak that thwarted liftoff.
Two previous attempts in 2009 and 2010 were unsuccessful. The first attempt failed to deploy its satellite, and the rocket exploded mid-flight on the second attempt.
The KSLV-1 is a joint project between KARI and Russia. Korea is responsible for the second stage and the satellite payload, while Russia supplies the first stage and thrust-engine.
Seoul is planning a much larger KSLV-2 and plans to develop and launch it by 2021.