History of Rocket Program of South Korea

The following is a chronology of major events related to South Korea’s development and third launch of its first-ever space rocket.

March 2001 – South Korea joins the Missile Technology Control Regime, an informal international association that oversees the proliferation of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

August 2002 – South Korea and Russia confirm plans to develop the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) rocket and begin design and construction work, with a launch planned for 2005.

Sept. 21, 2004 – South Korea and Russia sign a space technology cooperation pact.

Oct. 26, 2004 – The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) signs a cooperative pact with Russia’s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.

2005 – South Korea and Russia complete work on critical designs for the KSLV-1. The original launch date, set for 2005, is postponed until October 2007.

September 2006 – The engineering model for the upper part of the rocket is completed.

Oct. 12, 2006 – Seoul says the October 2007 launch date of the KSLV-1 will be delayed by one year.

Oct. 17, 2006 – South Korea and Russia sign a technology safeguard agreement.

July 2007 – The critical design for land-based launch support facilities is acquired.

September 2007 – The qualification model of the upper part of the rocket is completed.

November 2007 – A critical design review of the rocket is conducted by South Korean and Russian engineers.

December 2007 – Revisions to the cooperative pact are implemented, with a new launch date set for late 2008.

July 23, 2008 – The South Korean government says the scheduled launch of the first rocket will be postponed until 2009 due to delays in the arrival of the main booster rocket and other key parts from abroad.

August 2008 – Russia builds a ground test vehicle (GTV) for the main booster of the KSLV-1. Seoul says the first space rocket may be launched in the second quarter of 2009.

March 12, 2009 – The launch is delayed until late July to give engineers more time to check safety systems.

May 10, 2009 – South Korea selects “Naro” as the name of its first space rocket.

June 2009 – South Korea opens the Naro Space Center. Launch pad certification is completed using KSLV-1 GTV. A complete first-stage rocket arrives from Russia by plane.

July 17, 2009 – The launch is delayed due to complications in analyzing the fire test of the main booster rocket.

July 30, 2009 – Russia successfully conducts a “hot fire test” on the KSLV-1 engine.

Aug. 1, 2009 – Seoul says the KSLV-1 has been rescheduled for launch on Aug. 11.

Aug. 4, 2009 – Russia informs Seoul that a “technical issue” related to fire test data from the engine will require more time to check.

Aug. 7, 2009 – The government says the “technical issue” was caused by a diagnostic glitch in data processing, and that the rocket is safe for launch.

Aug. 11, 2009 – Seoul sets a new launch date of Aug. 19 after consultation between South Korean and Russian engineers.

Aug. 19, 2009 – South Korea halts the countdown of the KSLV-1 with less than eight minutes remaining before blastoff after the automatic launch sequence system detects a problem in a high-pressure tank.

Aug. 20, 2009 – Engineers discover a minor software problem caused the countdown to be halted and transport the rocket from the launch pad to the assembly complex for repairs.

Aug. 25, 2009 – South Korea fails to send a satellite into orbit.

September 2009 – South Korea sets up a special task force to determine why its first space rocket failed.

Nov. 5, 2009 – An interim report cites a fairing assembly malfunction as the reason the rocket launch failed.

Feb. 8, 2010 – An independent panel confirms a fairing assembly malfunction made it impossible for the KSLV-1 to place the scientific satellite into Earth’s orbit.

April 5, 2010 – The main booster rocket arrives at Naro Space Center from Russia.

April 19, 2010 – South Korea announces it will launch a second locally assembled space rocket on June 9.

June 7, 2010 – The KSLV-1 is moved to the launch pad from the rocket assembly building and erected on the launch pad.

June 9, 2010 – The launch of KSLV-1 is aborted with three hours left on the countdown clock after emergency fire extinguishers activate.

June 10, 2010 – The KSLV-1 explodes 137.19 seconds after liftoff.

June 2010 – South Korea and Russia launch a joint Failure Review Board.

July 2011 – South Korea and Russia launch a Failure Investigation Group.

July 19, 2012 – South Korea’s National Space Committee approves a third launch of the KSLV-1.

Aug. 29, 2012 – The main booster rocket of the KSLV-1 arrives in Gimhae International Airport from Russia.

Sept. 2, 2012 – The main booster of the KSLV-1 arrives at Naro Space Center after its Aug. 29 shipment from Russia.

Sept. 11, 2012 – South Korea announces the third launch of its KSLV-1 will be held on Oct. 26-31 with Oct. 26 designated the primary candidate date.

Oct. 24, 2012 – The KSLV-1 is moved to the launch pad from the rocket assembly building and erected on the launch pad. The KSLV-1 is to scheduled to lift off from Naro Space Center on Oct. 26.

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