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South Korea successfully launches locally-developed Nuri rocket into orbit

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By Seo Yu-min
기사입력 2022-06-29



South Korea succeeded in launching its locally-developed rocket, Nuri, carrying satellites into orbit on June 21st, 2022. The three-stage space rocket, more than 47 meters long and weighing 200 tons, lifted off from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, southern coastal region of South Korea at 4 p.m. Nuri or Korean Space Launch Vehicle II (KSLV-II) was then put into its target orbit and successfully separated, placing the performance verification satellite as well as the dummy satellite into an orbit of 700 kilometers above the earth.

 

The launch was a second attempt for South Korea after the first failed attempt in 2021. The first liftoff attempt in October 2021 failed when the dummy satellite failed to reach the target orbit as its third-stage engine suddenly shut down. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) found that a device anchoring a helium tank had loosened and thus improved the helium tank for the second attempt.

 

The success of the launch made South Korea the world’s 7th country to put an over 1-ton satellite into orbit by using domestically developed technology, following Russia, the United States, France, China, Japan, and India. In the past, South Korea has launched cube satellites using rockets in other countries. However, now it can have its own satellites using locally-developed rockets.

 

“The success has paved the way for South Korea to open a path to space,” said President Yoon Suk-yeol. He added that it was the outcome of a 30 year effort overcoming difficult challenges. South Korea has invested nearly $1.5 billion into the Nuri development project in an attempt to secure Korea’s own space transport capability since 2010. About 300 South Korean companies and 500 KARI researchers have participated in the development of the rocket.

 

Ahn Sang-il, head of the KARI, mentioned that the success of Nuri would allow our nation autonomy in its space program. “We announce the success of Nuri, a domestically-developed space launch vehicle. The skies over the nation have opened widely,” said Lee Jong-ho, minister of Science and ICT. He revealed that the third launch of Nuri is scheduled in the first half of 2023 and that a total of four liftoffs will be conducted before the end of 2027.

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