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S. Korea's first homegrown space rocket set for launch in Oct. as scheduled

All News 14:00 August 12, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's space council on Thursday gave the go-ahead for the launch of the country's first homegrown space rocket on Oct. 21, marking a cornerstone for the country's space development program.

But the final date could change depending on weather conditions, according to the science ministry.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said preparations for the October launch are going as planned as the flight model of the rocket, named Nuri, is in the final stages of assembly.

The three-stage rocket will undergo a wet dress rehearsal later this month to test its systems in extreme climate conditions. The launch date will be confirmed next month based on the results of the dress rehearsal.

The Nuri undergoes a combustion test at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, 473 kilometers south of Seoul, on Feb. 25, 2021, in this photo provided by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The approval comes after more than a decade of development.

South Korea has earmarked around 2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) for the project since 2010 and finally unveiled a test model of the rocket in June this year.

The 200-ton Nuri will carry a 1.5-ton mock payload for the October launch ahead of its launch with a 200-kilogram satellite and a 1.3-ton dummy payload on May 19 next year.

The three-stage rocket uses four 75-ton liquid engines in its first stage, a 75-ton liquid engine in the second stage and a 7-ton liquid engine in the third stage.

In 2013, the country successfully launched its first-ever Naro space rocket, but its first stage was built in Russia.

The country has recently bolstered its space program, creating a new think tank to conduct space-related research to offer guidance for the country's space development policies, as well as private sector efforts.

An assembled qualification model of South Korea's homegrown space rocket Nuri is erected on its launch pad at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, 473 kilometers south of Seoul, in the file photo from June 1, 2021. (Yonhap)

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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