S Korea satellite 'burnt and lost'
The rocket launched successfully but failed to push the satellite into orbit [AFP]
A satellite launched by South Korea's first space rocket has fallen to Earth and burnt up after missing its designated orbit, officials say.
"The satellite fell to earth and was burnt and lost," South Korea's science and technology ministry said on Wednesday, adding the government would form a team to analyse findings of a South Korea-Russian investigation and prepare for a re-launch.
The problem was caused by one of the two fairings which covered the satellite at the rocket's tip, the ministry said.
Because one of them did not fall away from the rocket after opening, the rocket could not achieve enough speed to overcome gravity and to place the satellite in its intended orbit.
After years of delays, South Korea successfully launched its two-stage Korea Satellite Launch Vehicle 1 (KSLV-1) from the Naro space centre in the south of the country on Tuesday, but Lee Myung-bak, the president, called the exercise only a "half success".
Not to be a wet blanket but one does have to look at the Geopolitics of this launch.
This "satellite launch" had a less benign implications. Specifically it was a response to Soul's less than friendly neighbor to the north the DPRK. Pyongyang has been tossing up a large number of malfunctioning Taepodong for the last few years. While many of these devices only managed to belly-flop into the Sea of Japan the implicit threat of these missiles has unnerved both South Korea and Japan. It doesn't help that Kim Jong Il's proletarian paradise has been busily tinkering away at nuclear device for the last decade. Fortunately the Stalinist state has been rather incompetent in its effort to make something that goes Ka-boom in the night. They still have not got that implosion thing sorted out--yet.
Thus the launch was a lot more successful than one would think. The South Koreans can down-grade this satellite launcher into a very credible weapons system. North Korea and its Chinese enabler has been put on notice.
H/T to Cujo 359