The first-ever domestically developed space rocket ‘Nuri’ is set to launch for South Korea. While its countdown has begun, Nuri will lift off on Oct 21 at 4 pm from the Naro Space Center in Goheung. However, the exact timing will be declared on Thursday morning since weather conditions have to be considered.
Designed by Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Nuri is a three-stage liquid-fuel rocket, which will carry a 1.5-ton dummy payload. These payloads will be put into orbit 600 to 800 km above the earth.
If successful, the Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle II will be one of the biggest milestones for Korea in the space industry. The space program will contribute to Korea’s major goals, such as 6G bringing network lunar probes and spy satellites.
Weather conditions play a major role in the launch date and time of any space launch. Although the countdown has begun, if weather conditions such as humidity, windy atmosphere, unfavorable temperature hurdle the launch, Nuri will take off between Oct 22 and Oct 28.
The last space rocket by South Korea was developed using Russia’s technology. It was launched 8 years ago and failed due to various reasons. Han Sang-Yeop, director of KARI’s Launcher Reliability Safety Quality Assurance Division, informed that the homegrown Nuri is a liquid-fuelled space rocket solely developed by the country.
In an email to Reuters, He stated, “Having its own launch vehicle gives a country the flexibility of payload types and launch schedule.” Since Korean technologies have been used in the space program, Korea has the freedom to carry confidential payloads, especially those addressing the country’s security concerns.
South Korea will be the seventh country to launch a homegrown space rocket successfully. Before Nuri, China, France, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States were the six countries that have developed and had successful rocket launches in space.
South Korea has been working on the project since 2010, where it has invested over $1.7 billion in the space project.
Director of the Launcher Propulsion System Development Division of KARI, Oh Seung-hyub, spoke to the media on Oct 12. “Currently, only six countries have succeeded in developing medium and large engines with their own technology,” he stated while addressing the launch of Nuri.
Although the country is hopeful about the launch’s success, the next trial launch is set for May 2022. KARI is presently working on a few more space projects which are expected to be launched in the upcoming years.
Oh, in his media brief added, “It is meaningful that KARI supported the creation of a space industry ecosystem with the launch vehicle and the strengthening of industrial capabilities while conducting the Nuri development project.”