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(LEAD) Unexpected launch pad problem discovered during space rocket launch preparation

All News 16:52 June 15, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS more details, photo; RECASTS headline, lead)

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- Preparations to launch South Korea's homegrown space rocket Nuri were delayed at Naro Space Center on Wednesday due to a technical problem with the launch pad, according to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

Nuri, also known as KSLV-II, was transported from the assembly building to the launch pad at the state-run space center operated by KARI in Goheung, a southern coastal village some 470 kilometers south of Seoul, ahead of Thursday's scheduled launch.

KARI officials, however, later paused launch preparations after discovering an unexpected problem with the launch pad. The institute also canceled a press briefing in the afternoon.

The launch schedule could potentially be delayed again if the problem is not fixed within the day. The launch was originally set to take place Wednesday but has been delayed by a day due to strong winds.

This photo provided by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute on June 15, 2022, shows South Korean space rocket Nuri erected at the launch pad at Naro Space Center in Goheung, some 470 kilometers south of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In its first attempt in October, Nuri 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.

Nuri this time will be loaded with a 162.5-kilogram performance verification satellite to test the rocket's capabilities and four cube satellites developed by four universities for academic research purposes, along with a 1.3-ton dummy satellite.

South Korea has invested nearly 2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) in building Nuri since 2010. The project was carried out with domestically made technology on its own soil, including design, production, testing and launch operation.

The country plans to conduct four additional Nuri rocket launches by 2027 as part of efforts to further advance the country's space rocket program.

This photo provided by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute on June 15, 2022, shows South Korean space rocket Nuri being transported to the launch pad at Naro Space Center in Goheung, some 470 kilometers south of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

odissy@yna.co.kr
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