Rocket debris may hit east of Isabela, Samar, Surigao: NDRRMC
MANILA, Philippines - The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) met with different government agencies Tuesday to map out preparations for the scheduled satellite launch of the South Korean government at the end of the month.
The NDRRMC said the launch will be held at South Korea's Naro Space Center in Goheung County, South Jeollanam-do, operated by the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute. The space port is located about 485 km (300 miles) south of Seoul.
This is not the first time that South Korea is deploying satellite rockets. The first launch of the Naro-1 took place on 25 August 2009, but the launch failed.
The second took place on 10 June 2010, but the launch ended in failure 137 seconds (2 minutes 17 seconds) later, when contact with the rocket was lost.
The third launch window was scheduled between October 27 to 31 of this year.
NDRRMC Undersecretary Benito Ramos said the rocket will fly at a speed of 7 nautical miles per second. Estimates indicate the rocket will take 1,160 seconds or an equivalent of 20 minutes, before it reaches the Philippines.
The launch was schedule between 1530H-1900H (Korea Standard Time) or 0630H-1000H (Universal Time Code). Philippine time is between 2:30pm to 6:00pm.
The NDRRMC said the solid-fueled rocket's boosters will disintegrate from the satellite in three stages. First stage debris might fall 450 Nautical Miles east of Palanan, Isabela, 2nd stage debris might fall at 340 nautical miles eastern part of Samar province, and 3rd stage debris might fall at the eastern part of Surigao province.
A "no-fly, no-fish, no-sail zone" will be declared over the areas where the debris are estimated to fall. The zone will cover a 600x400 square kilometer area on the Pacific Ocean on the Philippine Eastern Seaboard.
"From water level to infinity, bawal yan," said Ramos.
He said the prohibition will cover the entire area of Bicol Region, Samar and Leyte provinces and CARAGA Region.
Ramos believes that the specific grid coordinates where the debris will fall is not generally known to fisherfolks and ordinary people. This is the reason why he wants a general no-fishing zone in the area where the debris will fall.
He also tasked the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard to ensure that even at 1pm, before the launch window, no fishermen will be spotted in the area. "Pati kayo, Coast Guard at Navy, dapat wala kayo dyan kasi baka kayo ang mabagsakan ng debris," said Ramos.
To illustrate, Ramos showed an ammunition of M-16 (5.56mm), and likened it to a satellite rocket. Ramos said if the bullet is fired, its shell would be the debris, and if it falls on a man's head, would surely cause injury.
"Kaya kung yung debris ang babagsak, kayang wasakin ang isang barko," he said.
According to NDRRMC, the first stage debris will be the rocket booster measuring around 20 meters in length and 3.9 meters in width. The second debris will be a smaller part called "fairing," located near the tip of the rocket.
The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute reported that there is no possible danger of radiation since the rocket will be using solid fuel and not nuclear batteries.