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South Korea is preparing to launch its second space rocket

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  On Tuesday, South Korea will launch a second test of its domestically made Nuri space rocket, eight mont...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  On Tuesday, South Korea will launch a second test of its domestically made Nuri space rocket, eight months after the first one successfully launched but failed to send a dummy satellite in orbit.

The rocket was installed on its launch pad at the Naro Space Center on South Korea's southern coast on Monday. The test was supposed to take place last week, but it was cancelled just hours before it was supposed to because of an issue with an oxidizer tank sensor.

Officials will determine whether or not to proceed 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 kilometres above the Earth, is a key component of the country's plans to kickstart its space programme 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 it uses only Korean rocket technologies. South Korea's most recent rocket, which was launched in 2013 after repeated delays and failed testing, was co-developed with Russia.

Nuri is critical to South Korea's efforts to develop a satellite-based navigation system and a 6G communications network in the future. The government also intends to launch a number of military satellites, but officials deny that the Nuri is capable of being used as a weapon.

South Korea is also working on a lunar orbiter with the US, with the goal of landing a probe on the moon by 2030.

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

Separately, in March, South Korea's military oversaw the first successful launch of a solid-fuel space-launch rocket, part of the country's intentions to launch 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 burned out sooner than expected.

Engineers fixed the problem by adjusting the helium tank inside Nuri's third-stage oxidizer tank, according to Yonhap news agency.

In addition to a dummy satellite, Nuri will carry a rocket performance verification satellite and four cube spacecraft produced by universities for research in Tuesday's test.

KARI has stated that at least four further test launches will be conducted by 2027.

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