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(LEAD) S. Korea to launch space rocket Nuri following delay

(ATTN: UPDATES with new info throughout; CHANGES headline)

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) — South Korea will launch its homegrown space rocket Nuri on Thursday after solving a computer glitch the previous day.

The launch management committee, which oversees the entire process, decided to launch the rocket at 6:24 p.m. at the Naro Space Center in the southern coastal village of Goheung, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

The decision came a day after the launch of Nuri was called off due to a communications problem between a launch control computer and a launch pad facility control computer about three hours before liftoff.

South Korean aerospace engineers have inspected the system overnight and fixed the problem to try again on Thursday.

Despite the cancellation, the rocket has remained erected on the launch pad for a possible retrial.

South Korea's space rocket Nuri is erected at the launch pad at Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, on May 23, 2023. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s space rocket Nuri is erected at the launch pad at Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, on May 23, 2023. (Yonhap)

It is not the first time that Nuri’s launch has been postponed due to technical issues.

In June last year, South Korea delayed its second launch for five days due to a technical glitch in the rocket’s oxidizer tank sensor.

After the postponement, Nuri successfully blasted off from Naro Space Center and sent a dummy satellite into its target orbit as planned, making South Korea the seventh country in the world to have developed a space launch vehicle that can carry a more than 1-ton satellite, after Russia, the United States, France, China, Japan and India.

The country has secured the key independent technology for developing and launching space rockets carrying homegrown satellites, opening up a new era in the country’s space program.

The 2 trillion-won (US$1.52 billion) Nuri project that began in 2010 will continue until 2027, with three additional rocket launches.

On the third attempt, Nuri will carry eight payload satellites, including the country’s second next-generation small satellite, the NEXTSAT-2, and put them into orbit.

The NEXTSAT-2 will be released 783 seconds after liftoff, and the other seven will be deployed at 20-second intervals.

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