June. 5. 2022
Korea hopes to successfully launch Nuri space rocket
|The Nuri space rocket blasts off from Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province on Oct. 21, 2021, during its first launch. Korea will attempt the second Nuri launch on June 15. Courtesy of Korea Aerospace Research Institute|
KARI said it learned lessons from the failure of the first launch
By Baek Byung-yeul
Korea is set to attempt a second launch of the local Nuri space rocket on June 15 after its first launch in October 2021 failed.
The Ministry of Science and ICT held a committee meeting. The committee handled the launch of the Nuri rocket, also known as the Korean Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-II), on May 25. Since then, the committee has considered technical preparations, weather conditions and the possibility of collisions with space objects and decided that June 15 would be the launch date.
Intended to secure the country’s own space-lift capability, the three-stage rocket, which weighs 200 tons and stands 47.2 meters tall, is made with cutting-edge technology.
About 500 people from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and 300 domestic companies, including Hanwha Aerospace, which made the engine and Hyundai Heavy Industries, which made the launch pad, joined the Nuri project with a budget of nearly 2 000 billion won ($1.6 billion). ) from 2010.
The Nuri rocket is designed to push a 1.5 ton satellite into a low orbit between 600 and 800 kilometers above the Earth. It will be equipped with four 75-tonne liquid fuel engines in the first stage; a 75 ton liquid fuel engine in the second stage; and a 7-ton liquid fuel engine in the third stage.
On Oct. 21, 2021, the country conducted the first space rocket launch at Naro Space Center in Goheung, 473 kilometers south of Seoul. The three-stage space rocket flew to a target altitude of 700 kilometers but failed to put a dummy satellite into orbit because its engine burned out 46 seconds earlier than expected.
KARI, who oversaw the launch, investigated the reason for the failure in December and concluded that the loosening of a device that anchors a helium tank, which is mounted inside the oxidizer tank during the third stage of the process, was found to have caused the premature ignition shutdown.
To avoid another breakdown, KARI has made an improvement to the helium tank by reinforcing the anchor on the bottom bracket and reinforcing the thickness of the manhole cover so that Nuri can fly stably even in an environment rapidly changing during flight.
The government expects a lot from the success of the second launch, because the part that was problematic in the first launch has been fixed.
“After the first launch, domestic researchers and industry officials tried their best to technically complete Nuri,” said Oh Tae-seog, first vice minister of the Ministry of Science and head of the launch committee. “This time we will do our best to launch our satellite for the first time.”
If Nuri succeeds in its second launch, Korea will be the seventh country to launch a space rocket with its own technology, following Russia, the United States, France, China, Japan and India, which have the independent capability. to place more than 1-tonne of satellite in orbit.
|The Nuri space rocket stands on a launch pad before its first launch at Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla province, Oct. 21, 2021. Joint Press Corps|
What will happen on the launch date
The launch is expected to take place between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. But the exact moment of the launch will be decided after several meetings that will have taken place on the day of June 15. The launch committee has declared that more than 95% of the preparations have been completed. . The first stage and the second stage are already combined, and the last rocket of the third stage is in the phase of assembling the components.
The launch success criteria will be determined by the success of the orbit of the satellite carried by the rocket and the success of the communication of the ground station with the satellite.
The day before launch, Nuri will be moved to the launch pad.
While the first Nuri rocket carried a 1.5 tonne dummy satellite on the first launch, this time it will carry a 180 kilogram performance verification satellite, developed to test the capabilities of the Nuri rocket, and four cube satellites, developed by four universities and designed to carry out simple missions.
The cube satellites will be separated one by one every two days after the performance verification satellite is put into orbit. They will carry out a given mission such as observing fine dust over the Korean Peninsula and the East Sea.
A successful launch leads to the exploration of the Moon
Korea expects the successful launch of Nuri could lead to the country’s attempt to explore the lunar surface, as it is scheduled to launch its first-ever lunar orbiter in August.
By successfully completing the two projects, Korea hopes to secure space transportation and technologies related to space exploration. At a time when the world is entering a new phase of the space age, it is an essential gateway for the country to secure space development technology and encourage the space industry to consolidate its position as the one of the space powers.
For the lunar orbiter, the country held a public naming contest from January to February and “Danuri” ― a combination of the Korean words “dal” (Moon) and “nuri” (appreciate) ― was chosen as the name official for lunar orbiter.
“We will not only gather people’s interest and passion to help our lunar orbiter achieve its mission, but we will not stop challenging space powers,” said policy director Koh Seo-gon. of R&D at the Ministry of Science. , said at an award ceremony for the Danuri Naming Contest on May 23.
The Danuri orbiter will blast off to the Moon while being carried by a Space X Falcon 9 rocket to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on August 3. It weighs 678 kilograms and is equipped with five observation devices developed using Korean technology and equipment from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Once in lunar orbit after flying for four and a half months, the Danuri travels for a year to observe the Moon’s resources and magnetic fields. It will also explore candidate landing sites as the country aims to send a lunar landing module in 2031.