Seoul, Sep 29 (IANS) South Korea will launch its first homegrown space rocket next month as it is in the final stages of preparations, the science ministry said on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said the rocket, Nuri, will lift off October 21 as scheduled at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, 473 km south of Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported.
The Nuri is now erected on a launch pad for a propellant fill test, known as a wet dress rehearsal, to check its systems in extreme climate conditions, the ministry said.
The ministry said it set the preliminary launch period from October 22-28 considering the possibility of schedule changes depending on weather conditions.
The country has invested around 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in the project since 2010 and finally unveiled a test model of the rocket in June this year.
The 200-ton Nuri will carry a 1.5-ton mock payload for the October launch ahead of its launch with a 200-kilogram satellite and a 1.3-ton dummy payload on May 19 next year.
The three-stage rocket uses four 75-ton liquid engines in its first stage, a 75-ton liquid engine in the second stage and a 7-ton liquid engine in the third stage.
In 2013, the country successfully launched its first-ever Naro space rocket, but its first stage was built in Russia.
The country has recently bolstered its space program, creating a new think tank to conduct space-related research to offer guidance for the country’s space development policies, as well as private sector efforts.