South Korea will launch its Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) at 4 p.m. Wednesday (3pm in Manila), a government official said, marking its third attempt to join the elite global space club.
The decision came after a final systems check that began earlier in the day.
The country's Launch Preparation Committee decided a final rehearsal that took place on Tuesday and the day's systems check offered no reason to delay what will be the country's third launch of the space rocket, also known as Naro.
"The Launch Preparation Committee, which was convened from 11 this morning, has decided, after reviewing the status of Naro, weather conditions and conditions in space to go ahead with the launch at 4 p.m.," Roh Kyeong-won, the head of the ministry's strategic technology development bureau, told a press conference.
Roh added the automatic 15-minute countdown will consequently start at 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday's launch will mark South Korea's third attempt to join the global space club after its two earlier launches in 2009 and 2010 ended in failures.
Naro's third launch itself was originally set to take place on Oct. 26 and again on Nov. 29, but was delayed both times due to defective parts.
Another factor besides technical problems that may lead to a delay is the condition of the weather, but KARI officials said the weather should not be a problem as there were only clear skies with mild winds at the Naro Space Center, 480 kilometers south of Seoul.
If the launch takes place as scheduled, it will mark the last launch under the Naro space program, regardless of its success or failure, as the joint development program with Russia ends later in the year.
The lower, or first-stage rocket, of Naro was built by Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center with its upper or second-stage rocket developed jointly by KARI and some 200 other South Korean companies and institutes.
The joint program began in 2002 as South Korea then lacked related technologies despite its growing need to develop its own means to deliver satellites into space.