Korea’s first homegrown space rocket engine, the Nuri, is to be test-launched in October. (Ministry of Science and ICT)

Korea’s first homegrown space rocket engine, the Nuri, is to be test-launched in October. (Ministry of Science and ICT)

By Jung Joo-ri and Kim Young Shin

Korea’s first homegrown carrier rocket, the KSLV-2 Nuri, will be launched into space in 2021.

The Nuri is a three-stage rocket that can carry a 1.5-ton application satellite into a 600 to800 km low Earth orbit. It passed its final comprehensive test at the Naro Space Center in Jeollanam-do Province in July, prior to its test-launch that will take place in October.

The test-launch will check the flight performance of the 75-ton-class main engine. The success of the test-launch will add momentum to the domestic development of a launch vehicle.

The name was selected on Sept. 6 after a national contest. “Nuri” (누리) is an ancient Korean word that means “world.” The name conveys the wishes for the homegrown rocket to travel across the whole universe and to bring back technological development. There were more than 10,000 entries by 6,300 people to name the new rocket.

“Less than 50 percent of world’s carrier rockets successfully launch on their first attempt,” said Ko Jeong Hwan, chief of the main KSLV-2 R&D office. “We will strive to minimize possible failures and successfully launch the rocket into space in 2021.”

The KSLV-2 is not the first rocket that has been developed domestically. Korea jointly built its first-ever space rocket, the KSLV-1 Naro, alongside Russia, and launched it on Jan. 30, 2013. The Nuri is the first completely indigenous space vehicle.

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