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S.Korea set to launch homegrown space rocket on June 21

Seoul, June 18 (IANS South Korea plans to launch its homegrown space rocket next week, after aerospace engineers replaced a malfunctioning part in the oxidiser tank sensor, which forced the country to call off the rocket launch this week .

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) canceled Thursday’s scheduled launch of Nuri, also known as KSLV-II, after the sensor was seen malfunctioning during a final pre-launch checkup at the launch pad in Naro Space Center in Goheung, a southern coastal village some 470 kms south of Seoul, on Wednesday.

“We plan to hold a launch management committee to pursue the second launch (of Nuri) on June 21,” Kwon Hyun-joon, an official at the science ministry, said.

The ministry has set the period through June 23 as the launch window, reports Yonhap news agency.

Nuri is scheduled to be moved back to the launch pad next Monday, the day before the launch, and it will be subject to constant inspections until Tuesday’s planned liftoff.

Kwon, however, said the plan could change depending on weather conditions.

KARI also said the launch date could be changed, as Naro Space Center is expecting a 60 to 70 percent chance of rain on the launch day.

The envisioned launch would be Nuri’s second liftoff, following its maiden voyage in October.

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

South Korea has invested nearly $1.8 billion in building Nuri since 2010.

The country plans to conduct four additional Nuri rocket launches by 2027 as part of efforts to further advance the country’s space rocket programme.

–IANS

na/

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