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South Korea successfully launched its Indigenous Nuri rocket to space

South Korea's first indigenous rocket triumphs in its second mission to space, launched from Naro Space Center.

South Korea's homegrown space rocket Nuri lifts off from Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, southwestern South Korea, on June 21, 2022, as the country makes a second attempt to put satellites into orbit. (Photo: KARI)

South Korea's homegrown rocket "Nuri" successfully launched from Naro Space Center in Goheung. Lift-off took place at 4 p.m KST (07:00 UTC) on June 21, 2022, as the country makes a second attempt to put satellites into orbit, carrying a 1.3-ton test model satellite and Performance Verification Satellite (PVSAT) from Asia Pacific Satellite Inc.,

According to the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI); at T+ 42 minutes and 23 seconds, the PVSAT communicates with South Korea's Antarctic Research station, and confirmed the payload separation went nominally, at the target altitude of 700 kilometers as planned

We have arrived at a monumental moment not just in South Korea's science technology history but for South Korea's history as well," Science Minister Lee Jong-ho said in a briefing at Naro Space Center

South Korea has now secured the key independent technology for developing and launching space rockets carrying homegrown satellites, opening up a new era in the country's space program and become the seventh country in the world to develop a space launch vehicle that can carry a more than 1-ton satellite, after Russia, the United States, France, China, Japan and India.

Today's launch was Nuri's second liftoff after its first attempt ended in failure.

In October, Nuri successfully flew to its target altitude of 700 kilometers but failed to put a dummy satellite into orbit, as its third-stage engine burned out earlier than expected.

KARI engineers reinforced an anchoring device of the helium tank inside Nuri's third-stage oxidizer tank. This time, Nuri was loaded with a 162.5-kilogram performance verification satellite meant to test the rocket's capabilities, and four cube satellites, developed by four South Korean universities for academic research purposes, along with a 1.3-ton dummy satellite.

South Korea, a relative latecomer to the global space development race, has invested nearly 2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) in building Nuri since 2010. South Korea's rocket launches ended in failures in 2009 and 2010.

In 2013, South Korea successfully launched its first-ever Naro space rocket, though its first stage was built in Russia.

The country aims to conduct four additional Nuri rocket launches by 2027. South Korea has also launched a preliminary feasibility study for the successor to the Nuri with the goal of sending a lunar landing module to the moon in 2031.

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