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South Korea to attempt first space launch Wednesday

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Korea Aerospace Research Institute/Handout/Reuters

(Read caption) Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), or Naro-1, South Korea's first space rocket, is wheeled to its launch pad from the assembly complex at Naro Space Centre in Goheung, about 301 miles south of Seoul, in June. South Korea relaunched its first space rocket on June 9, the second attempt after it failed to enter its target orbit in August last year.

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The Korea Aerospace Research Institute plans to launch the Naro-1 satellite to Earth orbit Wednesday, June 9, 2010 from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, South Korea, 485 kilometers south of Seoul.

The KSLV-1 (with the Naro-1 satellite) is South Korea's second locally assembled space rocket. The first, which lifted off on August 25, 2009 failed to place a 100 kilogram scientific satellite into orbit due to a malfunction in the fairing assembly.

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South Korea, with no experience in building space rockets, sought Russian help in 2002 for the Naro-1 project. The country will develop a larger rocket by 2020 that can send an unmanned probe to the Moon. An estimated $418 million USD has been expended on the project in hopes of becoming only the tenth country on the planet capable of successfully launch a satellite from its own soil.

Korea has already notified both the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization of the Wednesday launch and has reserved a ten day "launch window" in case of unforeseen contingencies. More from Yonhap News Agency.

Jack Kennedy blogs at Spaceports.

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