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South Korea's homegrown rocket "Nuri" to conduct second Demo Mission

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Real test satellite model and CubeSats from various institutes are to be launched on this mission.


Infographics by S.I and HDE

On 21st June at 0700 UTC (4 p.m KST), the first homegrown Korean launch vehicle 'Nuri' aka KSLV-2 will attempt a second launch from the Naro Space Center in Goheung-gun, Jeollanam-do. This time, it will place a real artificial satellite in 700 km Sun-Synchronous Orbit.

The Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) postponed the launch schedule from the original 15th and 16th(backup) to secure safety as strong winds, researchers found technical problems in the level sensor of oxidizer tank on Wednesday after installation of rocket at launch pad, teams decided to postpone the launch and rollback to assembly building for further investigations.

Today, June 20, the transfer and installation of the Nuri completed at the launch pad, the launch team will begin inspection work to prepare for launch, such as umbilical connection and air tightness check for charging power and propellants (fuel, oxidizer)

Nuri F2 installed at Launch Pad-1 at Naro Space Center (Credit; KARI)

During the first launch of the Nuri, carried out at 5 pm KST on October 21, 2021, the launch pad take-off and separation of the 1st, 2nd, and fairings were smoothly successful. Due to the early combustion in a short 475 seconds, the thrust was insufficient, and the dummy satellite could not be placed in the targeted Low-Earth orbit.

The launch committee conducted a two-month-long investigation and concluded that the failure stemmed from the loosening of a device that anchors a helium tank, which was mounted inside the oxidizer tank in the third stage of the rocket.

KARI took technical measures to reinforce the fixing part of the lower part of the helium, leaving behind the regret of 'half success'. On February 25, 2022, Minister Lim Hyesook (Ministry of Science and ICT) mapped out technical improvements to be made to Nuri at the 40th meeting of the Working Committee on Space Development and Promotion.

The Nuri (KSLV-2) is a pure Korean rocket that has completed the entire process of designing, manufacturing, and launching a space launch vehicle with Korean technology with an enormous budget of 2 trillion won ($1.54 Billion USD) for about 12 years from March 2010.



Second Launch Mission of Nuri

Instead of a dummy payload launched on "Nuri" F1 mission, the second launch will be equipped with real artificial satellites for performance verification (PVsat), which includes 4 cubesats, it also carries a 1.3 ton satellite model as primary load. This is because the ultimate goal is to develop a space launch vehicle that can put a 1.5 ton class application satellite into Low Earth orbit (600 to 800 km) and secure launch vehicle technology.

The government plans to enhance reliability by repeatedly launching the Nuri from 2023 to 2027 in line with the goal of securing independent space transport capabilities through the advancement of Korean launch vehicle technology. In this process, through the transfer of launch vehicle technology to the private sector, it is planned to systematically foster a comprehensive space company.


Nuri's Payload adapter mated with 1.3 ton satellite model and PVSAT

Secondary payloads: PVSAT (Performance verification satellite) + Cubesats

Asia Pacific Satellite Inc. has developed PVSAT which supports the 100kg-class small satellite platform and flight software (FSW) development to verify the performance of KSLV-II PVSAT contains five cubesat deployers. Four cube satellites developed by domestic universities will be carried along with payloads to verify the performance of space technology developed in Korea. The mission will be carried out for two years in a solar-synchronous orbit between 600 and 800 km. The fifth deployer will hold a dummy cubesat.