Final preparations underway for 2nd South Korean space rocket launch

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SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) was making final preparations Monday ahead of this week’s second attempt to send several satellites into orbit.

Nuri, also known as KSLV-II, is expected to be transported to the launch pad and erected vertically Tuesday at the Naro Space Center in the southern coastal village of Goheung, a day before launch.

On its first attempt in October, South Korea’s first space rocket successfully flew to a target altitude of 700 kilometers, but failed to put a dummy satellite into orbit because its third-stage engine burned out earlier. provided that.

Last month, the Ministry of Science set June 15 as the second launch date for Nuri.

Jang Young-soon, leader of KARI’s launch system development team, said the three-stage space rocket, which weighs 200 tons and is 47.2 meters tall, has been fully assembled and made the subject to a final inspection of the electrical system.

Prior to the second launch, Nuri underwent reinforcements from a helium tank anchor device inside the third stage oxidizer tank.

In October, the rocket’s third-stage helium tank fell due to increased buoyancy during flight and eventually caused the engine to shut down prematurely, according to a government committee.

Engineers added about 9 kilograms of reinforcements to the third-stage rocket to avoid such problems and said the increase is unlikely to affect the rocket’s performance, Jang said at a recent press conference. on line.

One factor that could potentially affect the schedule is the weather, as officials forecast a 60% chance of rain in the region on Tuesday afternoon. Although the rocket itself is sealed to keep water out, a large amount of rain could cause logistical problems.

Rain is not expected on launch day, but Jang said wind conditions are also a key factor in the success of the launch. According to KARI, the average surface wind speed must remain below 15 meters per second for the duration of the process to ensure a successful launch.

The launch has been tentatively set for 4 p.m., but the exact time will be determined on Wednesday based on space conditions and sunspot outbursts.

Unlike the October launch, which carried a single dummy satellite, Nuri this time will be tasked with a 180-kilogram performance verification satellite to test the rocket’s capabilities and four separate cubic satellites developed by four universities for university research.

“The most important mission (of the verification satellite) is to test the injection capability (of the satellite) of the rocket,” said Ahn Sang-il, principal researcher with the systems engineering team of the rocket. space and satellite exploration of KARI.

South Korea plans to conduct four more Nuri rocket launches by 2027 as part of efforts to advance the country’s space rocket program.

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