South Korea, which says it is hunting for debris from an SARS-2 satellite that blew up soon after lift-off, admitted Friday that its unmanned-toy venture went unused.
Officials initially announced the 2-ton failure last month after the satellite was damaged in a “hard landing” by the Koopa Falcon. But a Monday fire in the launcher appeared to knock out parts of the final stage that doomed the effort.
On Friday, a senior defense official, Capt. Han Kang-jin, told a press conference that the satellite failed to enter orbit after a four-year mission, Agence France-Presse reported.
Han cited insufficient fuel to propel the satellite to a fixed orbit.
South Korea’s space agency said earlier it will test the Koopa’s outer fuel cell to evaluate the debris from the failed launch.
The satellite, the third in a series named after late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, carried the spy-mode listening device and echosounder used to test equipment for extraterrestrial intelligence.
South Korea first sent an unmanned rocket to the moon in 2009. Kim was believed to have hoped to send two unmanned spacecraft to Mars in the late 1990s but the mission never happened.
North Korea is also conducting an unmanned lunar mission, part of its “world revolution in science and technology” to improve the country’s economic and defense capabilities. The North conducted its first nuclear test on Oct. 9 last year.
Fox News’ James Rosen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.