11 Jun 2010

Rocket launch by Sth Korea fails

6:12 am on 11 June 2010

A South Korean rocket appears to have exploded moments after take-off, ending the country's latest attempt to join the space-launch industry.

Science minister Ahn Byong-man said the rocket was thought to have blown up 137 seconds after take-off. Contact was lost as it reached an altitude of 70km.

Pictures on South Korean television appear to show the rocket's final moments, with the cameras following a white speck on its downward trajectory into the sea.

The BBC reports the rocket, which was built partly in Russia and partly in South Korea, cost 500 billion won ($US400 million).

A previous attempt by South Korea to put a satellite in space in August 2009 also failed.

China, India and Japan have developed a launch capability; China has also sent three manned missions into space.