Thursday, August 20, 2009

Software delayed KSLV-1 launch

The Korea Herald

GOHEUNG, South Jeolla Province - Errors in the software related to measuring pressure have led to the halt of the launch of Korea's first space rocket, Naro, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said yesterday.

The automatic sequence, a system that checks valves and sensors in the rocket, detected a drop in pressure in a helium high-pressure tank and halted the liftoff with 7 minutes and 56 seconds remaining in the countdown on Wednesday. The tank operates various valves in the rocket.

The software system erroneously recognized the pressure decrease and there was no problem with the hardware, officials said. It is expected to take one to three days to analyze and rectify the errors.

"The software saw what could not be seen as an error, as an error. It was a problem concerning the software recognition," said Lee Ju-jin, head of the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

Vice Science Minister Kim Jung-hyun said that the ministry will do its utmost to launch the rocket within the launch window which extends through to next Wednesday.

"We need time to fix and check the software. A new launch date will be set after all technical issues are addressed," Kim said during a press briefing.

"After Aug. 26, we need to notify the international organizations again of (a new launch date), and then it will take some time. We will try our best to launch the rocket within the launch window."

The two-stage rocket, which is to carry a 100-kilogram experimental satellite into a low earth orbit, was moved yesterday from the launch pad to the assembly complex so workers would address the software issues, officials said.

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