South Korea prepares to launch first domestically manufactured space rocket

Goheng: South Korea is scheduled to conduct its first test launch into space of a domestically built rocket on Thursday (October 21, 2021) in a major step towards advancing the country’s space program.

The three-stage KSLV-II NURI rocket with the flag of South Korea stood on its launch pad at the Naro Space Center before its scheduled 4 a.m. (0700 GMT) detonation, carrying a dummy satellite.

The NURI, or “World”, rocket is designed to put a 1.5 ton payload into orbit 600 km to 800 km (373 mi–497 mi) above Earth. South Korea’s future plans call for the launch of surveillance, navigation and communications satellites and even lunar probes.

Under the supervision of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the 200-tonne rocket was carried and lifted into position on its launch pad on Wednesday.

“All preparations like umbilical cord connection and confidential inspection have been done,” the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement.

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Space launches have long been a sensitive issue in the Korean peninsula, where North Korea faces sanctions over its nuclear-armed ballistic missile program.

South Korea’s plan calls for the launch of a series of military satellites in the future, but officials deny that NURI has any use as a weapon.

The country’s last such rocket, which was launched in 2013 after several delays and several unsuccessful tests, was jointly developed with Russia.

Officials told Reuters that having its own launch vehicle would allow South Korea to determine payload types and launch schedules, as well as protect “confidential” payloads such as spy satellites.

By Naveen Bharat Staff


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