The South Korean Ministry of Science decided yesterday, Wednesday, to postpone the launch of the Nuri space rocket, due to a technical defect discovered during the final preparations.
“While controlling the helium valve, flight engineers found a communication problem between the launch control computer and the launch pad control computer,” Vice Science Minister Oh Tae-seok said at a press conference at the Naro Space Center in Koheung.
He added: The valve is fine, but the safety of the system will be important when it turns into automatic mode, so there was no way to cancel the scheduled launch.
The missile will remain stationary at the launch pad
Engineers discovered the problem before they began injecting fuel and oxidizer into the 200-tonne rocket, ahead of its scheduled launch at 6.24pm local time yesterday.
The launch committee decided to postpone the launch schedule, and the committee will determine whether South Korea will go ahead with Thursday’s launch. The ministry said the missile will remain stationary at the launch pad until the next decision is made.
This is not the first time that the launch of the Nuri missile has been delayed due to technical problems. In June last year, South Korea postponed the second launch of the missile by 5 days due to a technical defect in the missile’s oxidizer tank sensor.
In 2022, the Nuri missile succeeded in sending the dummy satellite to its target orbit as planned, making South Korea the seventh country in the world to develop a space launch vehicle that can carry a satellite weighing more than a ton, after Russia, the United States, France, China, Japan and India.
The 2 trillion won (US$52.1 billion) Nuri project, which began in 2010, will run until 2027 and will launch 3 additional missiles.
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