The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-2 Nuri was successfully test-launched on Nov. 28, with the test fire burning for 151 seconds, which exceeded the targeted duration of 140 seconds.
The launch vehicle, which is scheduled to be formally launched in 2021, is a three-stage rocket developed on South Korea’s own technology. Its payload and length is 1,500 kg and 47.2 meters, respectively. It is being developed to carry a 1.5-ton multipurpose satellite to a sun-synchronous orbit and a low Earth orbit of 600 km to 800 km.
After the successful test launch, the production and launch of the vehicle is likely to pick up some speed, including four-engine clustering.
Nowadays, space development is rapidly emerging as a promising industry as more and more startups and IT industry giants are joining it with ideas and technologies. The South Korean government is planning to enrich the ecosystem of the local space industry based on the space launch vehicle.
South Korea’s launch vehicle R&D project is scheduled to end in 2021. The government is going to boost the competitiveness of the industry by means of follow-up launch, launch vehicle improvement, and follow-up launch vehicle development. Test launches are scheduled for 2022, 2023 and 2024 as well. That for 2022 is for technological reliability improvement, and those for 2023 and 2024 are to be capable of launching a multipurpose satellite and reduce production costs by mounting demonstration and scientific satellites, respectively.
During the course, a multi-enterprise consortium will be formed for performance and economic feasibility enhancement. Global market penetration is slated to start in 2031.
The Ministry of Science and ICT is going to conduct follow-up R&D for eight to 10 years from 2021 after preliminary feasibility studies. This is to develop launch vehicles different in size and suitable for use in small and large satellites. At the same time, the Korea Space Launch Vehicle will be improved in terms of turning, weight, etc.
A small launch vehicle capable of launching a 500-kg or lighter satellite is scheduled to be developed from 2025 to 2030 based on the vehicle. Technology for larger launch vehicles will be developed, too. The ultimate goal is to become capable of conducting low-orbit 1.5-ton satellite launch and then put a three-ton satellite into a geostationary orbit so that most of the over 60 satellites slated to be launched from South Korea by 2030 can be covered with its own launch vehicle technology.
The government is going to expand the scope of application of satellites from special purposes such as precision monitoring to disaster control, environmental purposes, daily life purposes, etc. Scheduled to be developed by 2022 are two small next-generation satellites, four medium next-generation satellites, 10 micro satellites, two multipurpose satellites, and two Cheollian satellites. Scheduled to be launched between 2023 and 2030 are two small next-generation satellites, 21 medium next-generation satellites, three multipurpose satellites, two Cheollian satellites, and 20 micro satellites. Scheduled to be launched between 2031 and 2040 are four small next-generation satellites, 43 medium next-generation satellites, four multipurpose satellites, and two Cheollian satellites.