The South Korea Space Launch Vehicle takes off from the launch pad at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Korea, on June 10. Photo credit: Associated Press, Korea Pool.

A South Korean rocket appears to have exploded moments after take-off, ending the country’s latest attempt to join the space-launch industry, reports the BBC. The Korea Space Launch Vehicle 1 is thought to have blown up 137 seconds after take-off, said science minister Ahn Byong-man. The rocket lifted off from Goheung’s Naro Space Centre but contact was lost as the rocket reached an altitude of 44 miles. Analysts say the reported failure is a major setback for South Korea in what some observers have described as an “Asian space race”. The country had been hoping to become only the 10th in the world able to put satellites into space, and thereby gain a lucrative slice of the growing space launch industry.

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