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South Korea Fails to Put Satellite In Orbit

South Korea has launched a rocket that was intended to place a satellite into space. However, the satellite has failed to go into orbit.

At 5 p.m., the Korea Space Launch Vehicle 1 blasted off from South Korea's Naro Space Center.

The KSLV 1 carried a satellite that South Korea's space agency intended to put into orbit 300 kilometers above the earth.

Speaking after the launch, Ahn Byong-man South Korea's minister of Education, Science and Technology, thanked the nation for its support.

Ahn says after the lift off, the first and second stage engines were operating fine and that the rocket's separation with the satellite was successful. But it exceeded its desired orbit and separated at a higher altitude. The space agency will investigate what went wrong.

Tuesday's launch comes after a series of setbacks. Most recently, the original lift off date of August 19 was scrapped due to technical problems.

The KSLV 1 was constructed primarily using Russian technology. But By 2018, South Korea plans to launch space-bound vehicles entirely manufactured domestically.

South Korea's rocketry program lags behind those of its neighbors Japan and China. And rival North Korea already has launched rockets into space.

In April, Pyongyang says it put a communications satellite into orbit during a successful rocket launch. However, Washington, Tokyo and Seoul contend that North Korea's satellite never made it into outer space. They condemned the launch as a cover-up for a long-range missile test.

North Korea said earlier this month that it would closely watch the international community's response to South Korea's rocket launch. A statement carried by official media there accused other nations of not treating North Korea's space exploration program equally.

South Korean officials reject comparisons with Pyongyang's rocket launches. They say that unlike the North's space program, the South's is not done in secret and is done for peaceful research. South Korea has previously placed its satellites into orbit using rockets launched by other countries.