South Korea completes launch of its Nuri rocket to put satellites into orbit
Seoul, May 25 (EFE).- South Korea successfully launched its Nuri space rocket Thursday to put eight satellites into orbit, in another key step for the aerospace program in the Asian country.
The Nuri rocket, also known as KSLV-II, took off as planned at 6:24 local time from the Naro space center, about 350 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
The rocket was originally scheduled for launch on Wednesday, but a technical problem was detected just before starting the injection of fuel and oxidizer into the rocket.
Nuri successfully completed all its flight stages, consisting of the separation of its components, the deployment of its main satellite in Earth orbit about 550 kilometers from the surface and the subsequent deployment of seven other microsatellites, all within 20 minutes after takeoff, the South Korean authorities said.
The launch confirms the country’s capabilities to operate a space vehicle capable of carrying a payload of satellites and placing them in a target orbit.
Nuri’s load included the small second-generation satellite NEXTSAT-2 and four domestically developed microsatellites.
It was the third launch of the rocket, also known as KSLV-II, and the first with real satellites.
During its maiden flight in 2021, Nuri successfully completed its flight sequence but failed to properly deploy low-Earth orbit dummy satellites, something it did in its second attempt in June last year.
The successful test made South Korea one of the 10 countries capable of developing and launching its own spacecraft and also one of the seven capable of putting satellites weighing more than 1 ton into orbit, along with Russia, the United States, France, Japan, China and India.
Since 2010, South Korea has invested nearly 2 trillion won (about $1.8 billion) in the development of Nuri, whose design, production, equipment and testing has been carried out entirely in the country.
In addition to Thursday’s delayed launch, South Korea plans to carry out another three by 2027 to further test the rocket and advance its space program. EFE