October 05, 2021 13:32
Korea will launch its first fully homegrown space rocket Nuri on Oct. 21, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT. If the weather is bad or technical problems arise, Oct. 22 to 28 have been set as reserve dates.
The three-stage rocket is designed to put a 1.5-ton satellite into orbit 600-800 km above the earth and the government has invested around W2 trillion since 2010 to develop it (US$1=W1,184).
The last launch rehearsal took place in August and final takeoff preparations are currently under way.
Assembly will be completed by mid-October and the rocket will be transported to the launch pad a day before takeoff. Fueling will start four hours before the launch time.
If all goes as planned, the Nuri will blast off into space at 4 p.m. on Oct. 21 and the first-stage will separate at an altitude of 59 km. The second-stage rocket will climb to a height of 258 km, while the booster on the third stage will ignite to put the satellite into orbit at an altitude of 700 km.
But the Nuri will only carry a dummy satellite this time, which will take 967 seconds after takeoff to put into orbit.
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute will launch another Nuri next May with a 0.2-ton satellite along with a 1.3-ton dummy, and four more until 2027. If Korea succeeds in launching the Nuri this time, it will become only the seventh country in the world to have its own fully indigenous space rocket.
Around 300 companies were involved in the development, including Korea Aerospace Industries, Hanwha Aerospace and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
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