Scientists at the Daejeon-based Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) have tested the locally developed second-stage of a two-stage rocket, which is designed to become Korea's first satellite launch vehicle. The second stage of this rocket was put through a live sequence test to determine its ability to put a payload safely into orbit, the state-run aerospace research institute said Thursday.
The comprehensive test conducted on the upper portion of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) checked the nose fairing separation mechanism, the kick-motor rocket and various controls needed to deploy a satellite into a proper orbit, the agency said. Scientists also examined the rocket's ability to maintain its bearing, allow the satellite to separate, and end its mission according to the full operational sequence.
The first stage of the KSLV-1 is being made in Russia, while the second stage rocket is being developed locally. The KSLV-1 is a two-stage rocket with a liquid fuel main booster and a solid fuel kick motor rocket. 33 metres in length it weighs about 140 tons.
The second stage of the KSLV-1 measures 2.9 metres in diameter and is 7.75 metres in length. The design, manufacture, assembly and initial testing of the inertial navigation system, electronics, flight controls, safety and the kick motor of the second stage have been made without outside assistance.
The KSLV-1 will be launched from the Naro Space Centre in December. It will be moved to the Naro centre located in Goheung, 485 kilometres south of Seoul, in September where it will await the arrival of the main booster rocket from Russia in October.
"The checkup allowed the second stage rocket to go through the entire process after it separates from the main booster," said a KARI scientist.
A successful launch of the KSLV will make South Korea only the eighth country in the world to build its own satellite and rocket and send it into space.
Currently, only the United States, Russia, Japan, China, France, India and Israel are members of this exclusive club.