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S. Korea to set date of 2nd launch of homegrown space rocket Nuri

Health 14:32 May 23, 2022

SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to set the launch date of next month's second launch of Nuri, the country's first homegrown space rocket, eight months after the failure of the first launch, officials said Monday.

In October, Nuri, also known as KSLV-II, successfully flew to a target altitude of 700 kilometers but failed to put a dummy satellite into orbit as its third-stage engine burned out earlier than expected.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said it plans to hold a meeting this week to set the date and time of the second launch, with about a seven-day launch window.

South Korea had tentatively set June 15 as the launch date.

South Korea's first homegrown space launch vehicle, known as Nuri, takes off from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, 473 kilometers south of Seoul, on Oct. 21, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

The three-stage space rocket, which weighs 200 tons and measures 47.2 meters in height, is currently being assembled at Naro Space Center in the country's southern coastal village of Goheung, about 470 kilometers south of Seoul.

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute completed combining the first and second stages of the rocket on May 12. Full assembly is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

Unlike the October launch, which carried a single dummy satellite, Nuri this time will be loaded with a 180-kilogram performance verification satellite to test the rocket's capabilities and four separate cube satellites developed by four universities for academic research purposes.

Nuri also underwent reinforcements of an anchoring device of the helium tank inside the third-stage oxidizer tank.

In October, the helium tank in the third-stage rocket fell off due to increased buoyancy during the flight and eventually caused the engine to shut off prematurely, according to a governmental committee.

South Korea has invested nearly 2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) in building the three-stage Nuri since 2010.

The whole process of the launch of Nuri was carried out with domestically made technology on South Korean soil, including design, production, testing and launch operation.

South Korea's rocket launches ended in failures in 2009 and 2010.

odissy@yna.co.kr
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