S. Korea space rocket launch delayed due to strong winds, technical problem

Seoul, June 15 (IANS) South Korea’s homegrown space rocket Nuri’s launch has been delayed due to strong winds and later a technical problem with the launch pad, according to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

Nuri, also known as KSLV-II, was transported from the assembly building to the launch pad at the state-run space centre operated by KARI in Goheung, a southern coastal village some 470 kilometres south of Seoul, ahead of the scheduled launch, Yonhap news agency reported.

It was originally set to launch on Wednesday but was delayed by a day due to strong winds.

KARI officials later paused launch preparations after discovering an unexpected problem with the launch pad.

The launch schedule could potentially be delayed again if the problem is not fixed within the day.

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

Nuri this time will be loaded with a 162.5-kilogram performance verification satellite to test the rocket’s capabilities and four cube satellites developed by four universities for academic research purposes, along with a 1.3-tonne dummy satellite, the report said.

South Korea has invested nearly $1.8 billion in building Nuri since 2010. The project was carried out with domestically made technology on its own soil, including design, production, testing and launch operation.

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.