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(LEAD) S. Korea plans to launch space rocket on June 21 following cancellation over tech glitch

Health 18:12 June 17, 2022

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

SEOUL June 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to launch its homegrown space rocket next week, after a last-minute technical glitch in the oxidizer tank sensor forced the country to call off the rocket launch this week, officials said Friday.

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) canceled Thursday's scheduled launch of Nuri, also known as KSLV-II, after the sensor was seen malfunctioning during a final pre-launch checkup at the launch pad in Naro Space Center in Goheung, a southern coastal village some 470 kilometers south of Seoul, on Wednesday.

"We plan to hold a launch management committee to pursue the second launch (of Nuri) on June 21," Kwon Hyun-joon, an official at the science ministry, said.

The ministry has set the period through June 23 as the launch window.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-II (KSLV-II), also called Nuri, is moved back from the launch pad to the assembly building of the Naro Space Center in Goheung, some 470 km south of Seoul, on June 15, 2022, in this photo provided by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. The homegrown space rocket's launch was postponed, as a sensor in the oxidizer tank showed irregularities ahead of the scheduled liftoff on June 16. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

According to Kwon, KARI engineers have identified the problematic part within the sensor system and replaced it.

"We switched out the part in question and confirmed that (the sensor) was working properly," he said, adding all three stages of the rocket were confirmed to have no problems.

Nuri is scheduled to be moved back to the launch pad next Monday, the day before the launch, and it will be subject to constant inspections until Tuesday's planned liftoff.

Kwon, however, said the plan could change depending on weather conditions.

The envisioned launch would be Nuri's second liftoff, following its maiden voyage in October.

In its first launch, 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.

KARI engineers reinforced an anchoring device of the helium tank inside Nuri's third-stage oxidizer tank.

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.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-II (KSLV-II), also called Nuri, sits on the launch pad at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, some 470 km south of Seoul, on June 15, 2022, in this photo released by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. The homegrown space rocket is scheduled to be launched the following day, eight months after the first trial in October ended in partial success. (Yonhap)


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