South Korea test launches its first domestically made space rocket
October 24, 2021

South Korea has test-launched its first domestically produced space rocket on October 21, 2021. The event was described by the officials as a significant step in the country’s pursuit of a satellite launch programme.

However, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the three-stage Nuri rocket succeeded in delivering the dummy payload into orbit 600 to 800 kilometers above the Earth. The payload was a 1.5 ton block of stainless steel and aluminium.

The live footage of the launch has shown 47-meter (154 foot) rocket soaring into the air with bright yellow flames shooting out of its engines following the blastoff at Naro Space Center of South Korea. It is the country’s lone spaceport on a small island off its southern coast.

Launch of first domestically produced space rocket of South Korea

The launch of the space rocket, which was observed by the President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, was delayed by an hour as the engineers needed more time to examine the valves of the rocket.

As per the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, it will take about 30 minutes to determine whether the space rocket has successfully delivered the payload into orbit.

The largest first state of Nuri, the core booster stage, was expected to land in the waters Southwest of Japan after the separation, and its second stage was expected to fall in the remote pacific waters east of the Philippines, about 2,800 km away from the launch site.

The smallest third stage of the rocket carries the payload and has been designed to place it into orbit.

Nuri: South Korea’s first domestically produced space rocket

Nuri is South Korea’s first space launch vehicle that has been built entirely with domestic technology.

The three-stage rocket has been powered by five 75-ton class rocket engines placed in its first and second stages.

The scientists and the engineers at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute plan on testing Nuri several more times. It will include conducting another launch with a dummy device in May 2022, before trying with a real satellite.

While Nuri has been powered by the liquid propellants that need to be fueled shortly before the launch, the country has been planning to develop a solid-fuel space launch by 2024, which possibly can be prepared for the launch more quickly and can also be more cost-effective.

Why the latest space rocket launch by South Korea is significant?

South Korea had previously launched a space launch vehicle from the Naro Spaceport in 2013. It was a two-stage rocket that was built mainly with Russian Technology.

As per the officials, South Korea’s ability to launch space rocket with its own technology will be crucial for the nation’s space ambitions. S Korea plans on sending more advanced communication satellites and acquiring its own military intelligence satellites. South Korea is also hoping to send a probe to the moon by 2030.

North Korea on rocket launch by South Korea

Even though North Korea has not yet reacted to the latest space rocket launch by South Korea, the country had shown sensitivity towards South Korea’s increasing defence spending and the efforts for building more powerful conventionally armed missiles.

North Korea has been repeatedly accused of using its space launch attempts in the past years as a disguise for developing long-range missile technology.