S.Korea to make 2nd attempt to launch homegrown space rocket on June 15

South Korea said on Friday that it plans to make a second attempt to launch its homegrown space rocket in mid-June, about eight months after its first flight ended in failure due to technical glitches.

The Nuri rocket will be lifted off on June 15, about one month later than earlier scheduled as more time is needed to fix technical glitches blamed for the previous flight’s failure to put a dummy satellite into orbit, Yonhap news agency reported citing the science ministry.

“It requires around an additional month to make all these technical improvements, and to assemble the first, second and third stages of the flight model, and to install the satellite,” the ministry said, explaining the cause of the delay from the initially planned launch in May.

In October last year, the country launched its first homegrown space rocket, also known as the KSLV-II, which successfully flew to a target altitude of 700 kms but failed to put a dummy satellite into orbit as its third-stage engine burned out earlier than expected.

A governmental committee of researchers and aerospace experts concluded that the helium tank in the third-stage rocket fell off its anchoring device equipped inside the oxidizer tank of the rocket due to increased buoyancy during the flight.

The detached helium tank then moved around inside the oxidizer tank, damaging the tank and causing leakage of helium and oxidizer. The lack of oxidizer flowing into the third-stage rocket eventually caused the engine to shut off prematurely, according to the committee.

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