South Korea is ready for a second test launch of the Nuri space rocket

South Korea is ready for a second test launch of the Nuri space rocket

On Tuesday, South Korea will launch a second test of its domestically made Nuri space rocket, eight months after the first successfully launched but failed to send a dummy satellite in orbit.

On Monday, the rocket was installed on its launch pad at the Naro Space Center on South Korea’s southern coast. 

The test was supposed to take place last week, but it was canceled only hours before it was supposed to because of an issue with an oxidizer tank sensor.

Officials will determine whether or not to continue on Tuesday afternoon.

The three-stage KSLV-II Nuri rocket, designed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to put 1.5-ton payloads into orbit 600 to 800 kilometers above the Earth, is a crucial component of the country’s plans to kickstart its space program and achieve lofty goals in 6G networks, spy satellites, and even lunar probes.

It is the country’s first domestically constructed space launch vehicle and employs exclusively Korean rocket technology. 

South Korea’s most recent rocket, launched in 2013 after repeated delays and failed to test, was co-developed with Russia.

Nuri is critical to South Korea’s future efforts to develop a satellite-based navigation system and a 6G communications network. 

The government also intends to launch several military satellites, although authorities deny that the Nuri can be used as a weapon.

South Korea is also working on a lunar orbiter with the US to land a probe on the moon by 2030.

Space missions have long been a contentious topic on the Korean Peninsula, where North Korea is sanctioned for its nuclear-armed ballistic missile development.

South Korea’s military supervised the first successful launch of a solid-fuel space-launch rocket in March, part of the country’s intentions to deploy spy satellites.

Nuri’s maiden test, which took place in October, saw the rocket complete its flight sequences but fail to deliver the test payload into orbit because its third-stage engine burnt out sooner than expected.

According to the Yonhap news agency, engineers fixed the issue by adjusting the helium tank inside Nuri’s third-stage oxidizer tank.

In addition to an artificial satellite, Nuri will carry a rocket performance verification satellite and four cube spacecraft produced by universities for study in Tuesday’s test.