Factory Lockdown Delays Space Rocket Launch

  • By Lee Young-wan

    July 06, 2020 12:12

    A three-stage space rocket under development by Korea could be delayed by another six months from the scheduled February, 2021 launch date due to glitches in parts manufacture.

    The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-2 (KSLV-2), also known as Nuri, has been under development since 2010 with a view to sending a satellite into orbit in 2021.

    Cho Sang-yeon at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said in a meeting with science reporters on July 3 that the first and second stages of the Nuri have entered the final test stage, but domestic suppliers have yet to meet the requirements for some parts because the coronavirus lockdown hampered production.

    "We will discuss another launch schedule with experts," Cho added.

    KARI has spent W1.96 trillion on the project so far (US$1=W1,200). According to the original schedule, two tests were planned, one in February and the other in October next year.

    All three stages of the rocket are being made with home-grown technologies. For the two-stage rocket Naro that was launched in 2009, Russia manufactured the first stage.

    "We have encountered problems in the production schedules of some components of the Nuri and it looks like the new schedule will be drawn up in a September meeting led by the government," KARI said.

    One rocket scientist said, "Considering that all risk factors must be resolved to ensure a successful launch, the test launch could be postponed by up to six months." 

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