South Korea’s first fully homegrown space rocket is on track for its scheduled launch later this year, the chief of the country’s space research institute said on Thursday.
Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) President Lee Sang-ryool said the 200-ton three-stage rocket, named Nuri, is currently being assembled without a glitch in the process.
South Korea has been seeking to develop a homegrown space launch vehicle since 2010, earmarking nearly 2 trillion won (US$1.79 billion).
While the country launched its two-stage Naro rocket in 2013, its first stage was built in Russia.
In March, KARI ran the final test for Nuri’s main first-stage engines at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, 473 kms south of Seoul, reports Yonhap news agency.
“Once the assembly of the flight model’s first, second and third stages are completed, we will assemble the entire model and transport it to the launch pad,” Lee said in an online press conference. “The launch pad is also nearly complete and (the project) is currently going ahead smoothly.”
The Nuri will carry a mock payload for its launch in October ahead of its mission to fly with a 200-kilogram satellite in May next year.