“Nuri” The First Self-Made Space Rocket Launched by South Korea

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South Korea, among other achievements, has advanced in the aerospace industry; this was demonstrated on June 21, 2022, when the country launched its first self-made rocket called “Nuri” which took off from the Naro space center in a southerly direction at 4:00 p.m. local time, in the coastal town of Goheung, about 350 kilometers south of Seoul. This successful launch would make South Korea one of the 10 countries able of developing and launching its own space vehicles and also one of the seven available of putting satellites weighing more than one ton into orbit, joining with Russia, the United States, France, Japan, China and India.

This rocket was developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), in a second attempt, after a failed launch last October. All three stages of the rocket worked, reaching the 700-kilometer-high objective and launching a function verification satellite into orbit about 16 minutes after take-off, Seoul reported.

In addition to four nanosatellites and a simulated 1.3-ton satellite, Nuri counted among its useful load with a verification satellite, designed to test the capabilities of the rocket, and four small cube satellites developed by four local universities for research work; the verification satellite successfully communicated with the South Korean communication station King Sejong, located in Antarctica. This success is commemorated after its first two launches, in 2009 and 2010, which, with a part of Russian technology, ended up failing. South Korea’s space program “made a giant step forward,” said Lee Jong-ho, the science and technology minister, he qualified the mission as a success.

Korea considered developing technology to boost local industry by a decade. Likewise, it’s expressed that the Nuri mission is important, since the majority of South Korean satellites have been sent into space using foreign rockets and platforms, giving greater relevance to the feat.

This three-stage rocket has been developed over a decade at a cost of 2 trillion won (US$1.6 billion). It weighs 200 tons, is 47.2 meters long and has six liquid fuel engines.

Unlike its predecessors, the Nuri integrates technology developed by more than 300 local companies, according to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. Due to its importance, the launch was televised on a national network. Yoon Suk Yeol, president of South Korea, said that the Nuri is the fruit of the challenges of the last 30 years. “Now, the dream and hope of our Korean people and our youth will reach space,” he said.

This launch reaffirms the strong position of the country in the world consciousness not only in terms of its economic and technological growth, but now also in the aerospace industry. In the same order, the country plans to carry out four more launches of this type between now and 2027 to increase reliability; including his project to carry a prove to the Moon in 2030.

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