GOHEUNG, South Jeolla Province -- South Korea has opened a new chapter in writing its own space era as it was able to launch its first rocket into space on Tuesday, June 21st at 4 pm. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute in Goheung, South Jeolla Province was able to launch the 200 metric ton homegrown rocket, the Nuri rocket (KSLV-II), after eight months of improving technical problems that caused the early shutdown of the third-stage rocket engine. Nuri comes from the Korean word for "world".
The three-stage rocket was able to reach its target orbit of 700 kilometers. This marked South Korea as the seventh nation in the world to develop and launch a satellite greater than 1 ton. The successful launch has given hope to the rest of the nation with dreams of landing a lunar module on the moon by 2031. Check out the launch video!
According to the KARI, rocket Nuri blasted off at 4 p.m., as scheduled, after a 10-minute countdown. The first stage of the rocket separated from the rest of the rocket 2 minutes and 3 seconds after the launch.
KARI’s Antarctic Sejong ground station received confirmation from the satellite at around 4:42 p.m., showing that the satellite was in a stable position. The station is located at King George Island, one of the largest South Shetland Islands, lying 120 kilometers off the coast of Antarctica.
At around 8-9 p.m., the satellite was to send beacon signals that help the station verify whether it is still on track and facing the sun. At around 3 a.m. Wednesday, KARI‘s Daejeon ground station was to receive data including the exact timeline of the separation process of the rocket and its orbit data.
The government-led project of developing the three-stage, liquid-fueled carrier rocket, weighing 200 tons and standing 46.2 meters tall, took 12 years. The total budget cost the project 1.9 trillion won ($15.1 billion). More than 300 South Korean companies participated in the supply of rocket components.
South Korea plans to carry out the Nuri Acceleration Project, from 2023 to 2027, which will send four additional rockets to space to boost the reliability of the Nuri space rocket and promote private enterprises that develop satellite projectiles. The government has secured a budget of around 680 billion won, according to Goh Jung Hwan, director of KARI’s KSLV-II (Nuri) research and development directorate.
This is an amazing feat by South Korea! It shows that not only is South Korea capable of exporting soft culture, but its technology is up to par with the top nations in the world! Let us know your thoughts on this momentous occasion! Would you want to travel into space?