The recent launch of South Korea’s Naro-1 rocket marked the emergence of the 10th nation with the capacity to launch payloads to orbit. But several private corporations — including SpaceX and Virgin Galactic — have been redefining the role of private corporations in the opening of the next frontier.
After a six-day delay caused by a faulty valve, South Korea has launched its first rocket, the Naro-1, from the Naro Space Center in Goheung. However, the launch was only partially successful: the satellite payload was lost when it was released twenty-two miles higher than planned. According to the New York Times, “The South Korean rocket was carrying a domestically built satellite designed to monitor the atmosphere and the ocean.”
An article at Wired.com (“Rocket Booster: Let Private Sector help NASA”) keeps a free-market focus on the future of American space exploration: “After leading the way in the human exploration of space for nearly 50 years, the future of U.S. manned space flight is in question. The space shuttle makes its last flight next year. After that, NASA must rely on the Russians to put astronauts in space. Unless the country looks to the private sector.”
In an age of out of control government spending — over $30 billion a week in budget deficits, 130,000 troops in Iraq and over 60,000 in Afghanistan, and a president and Democratic majority in Congress seemingly bent on collectivizing the entire healthcare industry — a presidentially appointed committee has apparently found one thing the government cannot pay for, at present: manned exploration of space.
According to a report in the Associated Press, South Korea aborted its first launch of a new rocket just minutes before its scheduled liftoff. The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (or Naro-1) was to be the first rocket launched from the new Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Korea.