Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Countdown to homegrown South Korea satellite launcher



Countdown to homegrown South Korea satellite launcher

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A model of South Korea's homegrown space rocket Nuri is connected to a launch pad at the Naro Space Centre in Goheung county. KARI

Countdown to homegrown South Korea satellite launcher

South Korea will test its first domestically-developed satellite launch vehicle this week, which, if successful, will mark a major step forward in the country’s space programme.

The three-stage liquid fuel rocket, also known as Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle II or the Nuri, will lift off at 4pm on October 21 (2pm in Cambodia) from the Naro Space Centre in Goheung county, South Jeolla province, carrying a 1.5-tonne dummy payload.

If all things go well, the payload will enter into low orbit 600-800km above the Earth.

Whether or not the test is a success will likely be known about 16 minutes after the launch, according to Han Sang-yeop, director of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (Kari), which designed the vehicle.

The Nuri, currently undergoing final preparations and checks at a hangar, will be moved to the launch pad, early on the morning of October 20.

On launch day, Kari will evacuate the area within 3km of the launch pad as a safety precaution. The rocket will then be fuelled and go through a series of tests for four hours prior to the launch.

The launch time, however, can be adjusted due to weather conditions, which could potentially interfere with the launch. The Nuri rocket has a launch window of about a week.

After its launch, the rocket will be tracked and monitored through radar and telemetry antennas from Kari’s tracking stations located in Goheung, Jeju island and the country of Palau.

The Naro Space Centre in Goheung is equipped with radar that is capable of locating a rocket until it is 3,000km away from Earth. The space centre also has telemetry antennas that can track its trajectory up to an altitude of 2,000km.

Kari sees a 30 per cent chance of the launch succeeding.

According to Kari, a total of 54 rocket launches have failed over the last 10 years, out of 948 attempts made worldwide.

South Korea launched its first satellite booster Naro in 2013, developed with the help of Russia, after several delays and two failed attempts. Nuri is built entirely with Korea’s own technologies, Kari said.

October 21’s launch is the first of a series of tests planned with Nuri.

Kari has scheduled additional launches in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2027.

The country’s space agency said it will continue to make improvements to the rocket for future launches.

If successful, South Korea will become the world’s seventh country with independent capabilities to launch a satellite over one tonne into orbit from its own soil.

The South Korean government has invested a total of two trillion won ($1.6 billion) over the past 12 years. Around 500 researchers from 300 local firms have joined the project to date.

Meanwhile, the science ministry on October 17 said no on-site spectators will be allowed at Naro Space Centre, due to safety issues and the pandemic situation. The launch will be livestreamed on various platforms, including YouTube, it added.

THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration