South Korea is also interested in the satellite launch business. With the Nuri launch vehicle specially developed for this purpose, the country wants to dispute SpaceX and others for a piece of the cake.
Nuri (in German: World) is not South Korea’s first launch vehicle. However, it is the first to develop the country completely independently. The predecessor, the Naro-1, originally came from Russia and was only modified.
The Nuri rocket prototype is due to launch soon
A prototype of the Nuri rocket is now in the Naro Space Center, around 500 kilometers south of the capital Seoul. Some ground tests, such as filling the tanks, are to be carried out there before Nuri could take off for the first time towards the end of the year.
Eleven years of development have gone into the Nuri, which is a three-stage rocket with a total weight of over 150 tons. It should be able to bring up to one and a half tons of payload into low earth orbit (LEO). South Korea wants to prove this right from the start. However, there will only be a test dummy on board. The Nuri will then put the first satellite into orbit at the end of 2022.
South Korea expands space program
South Korea has so far invested around 1.5 billion euros in the missile program, reports the Yonhap news agency. In addition to the rocket program, the Asian country’s space agency is also working on a lunar orbiter. It is to be put into a lunar orbit in the coming year. In return, the South Koreans have already bought a payload on a Falcon 9 rocket from the private space company SpaceX.