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The rocket successfully took off, and its payload, a satellite, was successfully launched, said Ahn Byung-man, the minister of science and technology, but was not in the proper orbit.
It was not immediately clear what had happened to the satellite.The cause of the failure was not immediately known.
The official said Korean experts were working with Russian scientists, who provided the technology for launch, to determine the reason.
The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 was launched from the Naro Space Center on the southern coast about 5 p.m. (4 a.m. ET) Tuesday.
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