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Space Science Technology

Second Straight Rocket Failure For South Korea 143

eldavojohn writes "South Korea suffered its second straight setback today as its Naro-1 rocket carrying a scientific satellite exploded. The rocket produced a bright flash during stage-one ignition as the ground crews lost contact with it. South Korea paired with Russia to produce the Naro-1 and was looking to both relieve its dependence on other nations to put its satellites in orbit and compete with the space programs of China, India, and Japan. Following a failure on August 25, 2009, this marks the second failed attempt for Naro Space Center to launch a Naro-1 rocket. It appears the old adage revolving around the complexities of 'rocket science' remains valid."
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Second Straight Rocket Failure For South Korea

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  • by bezenek ( 958723 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:18AM (#32532284) Journal

    I guess they're just following the Soviet era tried and tested rocket development program. Start by blowing up rockets, and continue until they stop blowing up. Then strap some pilots on top.

    This sounds pretty much like the US space program.

    It is unfortunate people still have to learn from their mistakes when this has already been done at least twice (CCCP and the US). A person might figure they could afford to hire a couple of engineers who already went through this trial and error.


  • by quenda ( 644621 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:19AM (#32532288)

    Problem is not complexity, but lack of error margin.
    In any other field, even aircraft, you can over-engineer it a lot more. But with satellite launch rockets, everything has to be cut to absolute minimum. And even then, payload is only a miniscule fraction of launch weight.
        The other problem is that tests are expensive and failures tend to get noticed. If a new car engine prototype seizes up on the test track, it does not make the news.

  • by NewsWatcher ( 450241 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:50AM (#32532430)

    Yeah it would seem to be pretty amazing that North Korea, for all its spit and bile, has managed not only to create working rockets, but nukes as well, despite the world being against it.

    South Korea, despite all the world's major powers backing it, has ended up with egg on its face.

    Of course, if push really ever came to shove it doesn't really matter how many working missiles South Korea has, as long as the USA has plenty that work correctly.

  • Re:Did it fail? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Friday June 11, 2010 @03:37AM (#32532582) Homepage

    Yeah, good only people from north Korea, China and Russia are bad and that everyone else in all occasions behave well. Most likely everyone from said countries are the same to.

    Good your governments communism = bad, Islam = bad, .. = bad tactics work as intended. I guess there's more power to be had for them as long as you're all in fear and need them.

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:03AM (#32532696) Homepage Journal

    Maybe the problem is that they are getting help from the Russians. SpaceX might be a better go. Pay them for a technology transfer deal. License their processes, designs and software. SpaceX gets $$$, SK gets a working system.

  • Falcon 9 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:28AM (#32532796)

    Progress plods on, and if they keep trying, they will eventually get it right, even if it isn't particularly easy.

    Maybe this will shut up all the people who said that the achievements of SpaceX and Falcon 9 were nothing... when a nation state with a GDP of $929 billion and space agency annual budget of ~$250 million fails twice to achieve the same thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:46AM (#32532870)

    Huh-what? North Korea hasn't had ANY successful space rockets, and they've had their share of explosions. Also they've trying very very very hard to develop long-range military rockets -- South Korea isn't. Or even medium-range military rockets. The South has a much more minor non-military actual-space rocket program. And if you'll check the history of everyone's space programs, you'll notice that everyone has had failures.

    I'm alarmed you weren't moderated Funny. Please, just bounce around the wikipedia articles on respective rocket programs for a bit. You've gotten quite the wrong impression of who is doing what, and how successfully.

  • by Stuntmonkey ( 557875 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:09AM (#32532962)

    A person might figure they could afford to hire a couple of engineers who already went through this trial and error.

    Two failures on a brand-new launch vehicle is not unusual for any country. These are complex systems operating close to their design limits, and they can only be partially tested on the ground. It's certainly a setback for the Korean engineers, but I would not look at two failures and immediately conclude they lack the right talent.

    This is an especially difficult case because none of the components have much flight heritage, which is ultimately how you reduce risk. This is why you see so much re-use in rocket designs in general, especially of high-risk components like engines and avionics.

    In many ways it's like software development. Any good developer knows that no matter how smart and experienced the engineers are, new code will almost always have bugs early on. Testing under realistic conditions is the only way to identify them. Unfortunately the only fully realistic test for a rocket is a launch.

  • by bjourne ( 1034822 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:22AM (#32533036) Homepage Journal

    Because the DPRK is pushing more GDP into the program and there is the threat of prison for the scientists and engineers, families, parents and grandparents.

    That is exactly the point. No one has proved that working under threats make you perform better in an intellectual pursuit, which developing ICBM:s and nukes undoubtedly are. In a too controlled environment people get afraid to take decisions, wont question orders and avoids responsibility because they get punished if they do and failure occurs. Which means that no progress is made and easily avoidable accidents occurs. Like Chernobyl, where the engineers on the floor knew the likelihood of a meltdown but didn't dare contradicting the managers orders. Designing weapons is a much different kind of work than digging holes in which the previous strategy might work.

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone