South Korea Runs Final System Tests Before Launch of Nuri Space Vehicle

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South Korea has started conducting final security and control tests in preparation for the launch of its first completely homegrown space rocket, Nuri, which was developed in 2010, the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technologies said on Thursday.

“On September 30, in preparation for the upcoming launch of the KSLV-II, Nuri, in October, the ministry … held a general exercise on final safety verification and launch control at the Naro Space Center in [southern] Goheung County, Jeollanam-do Province, with the participation of 11 government departments,” the ministry said in a statement.

The first test liftoff of the vehicle is scheduled for October 21 with 1.5 tonnes of payload, from the Naro Space Center. Nuri is a three-stage vehicle that will use up to four 75-tonne liquid engines in its first stage, one 75-tonne liquid engine in the second stage, and a 7-tonne liquid engine in the third stage.

The ministry also unveiled the preliminary dates for the launch of the rocket.

“The [Launch Management] committee set preliminary dates to be from 22 to 28 October considering changes in weather and other affecting conditions,” the ministry said in a separate statement.

The test practice includes training in creating launch conditions in the region, taking into account the restrictions on the use of airspace and traffic, coordination of the missile flight course, the measures implemented in case of a terrorist act and disaster, evacuation of residents, and others.

The test launches of the Nuri vehicle, which cost Seoul nearly 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) to develop, have already been postponed several times, most recently from February 2021 to October.

In 2013, South Korea launched its first-ever Naro space rocket with a first stage developed in Russia.

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