South Korean officials were set to launch their first rocket into space today, but were forced to call off the launch with only minutes to spare. The launch was South Korea’s third attempt to shoot a rocket into orbit and this was the second failed launch for this particular project. The launch was called off due to a glitch in the rocket propulsion system.
In October, the rocket launch was also postponed due to a glitch in the booster engines from Russia. Reports indicate that the rocket launch scheduled for today was called off just minutes before the scheduled liftoff. South Korean officials say that they are currently investigating what caused the glitch in the propulsion system.
While South Korea maintains that its rocket tests are part of its plan to be able to put satellites in orbit itself without having to rely on other countries, other powers in the region believe that the tests are a way for South Korea to work on its ballistic missile program. North Korea has been particularly vocal about South Korea’s rocket program.
North Korea maintains that is being unjustly singled out for UN sanctions for launching long-range rockets as part of its own space program with the goal of putting its own satellites in orbit. The glitch that halted the South Korean launch today is reported to be an error in the thrust vector control in the upper second stage of the rocket. That particular system guides the propulsion of the vehicle.