Science & Technology

South Korea postpones 3rd launch of home grown rocket Nuri due to technical glitch

Seoul, May 24 (EFE).- South Korea on Wednesday postponed the third launch of its homegrown space rocket Nuri after detecting a technical glitch during final preparations.

With the rocket already on the launch pad, a technical problem was detected just before starting the injection of fuel and oxidizer into the rocket at around 3:30 pm, three hours before the scheduled launch from the Naro Space Center, located 350 kilometers (217 miles) south of Seoul.

Following the detection of the technical problem, the launch management committee, comprising the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, convened an emergency meeting, in which it decided to postpone the launch.

“While controlling a helium valve, officials found out a communications problem between a launch control computer and a launch pad facility control computer,” Vice Science Minister Oh Tae-seog said at a press briefing, local news agency Yonhap reported.

The committee will decide in the next few hours whether to schedule the launch on Thursday.

It will be the third launch of the rocket, also known as KSLV-II, and the first in which it would be loaded 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 Wednesday’s delayed launch, South Korea plans to carry out another three by 2027 to further test the rocket and advance its space program. EFE


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