by Park Si-soo — October 21, 2021 KSLV-2 blasts off from the launchpad at Naro Space Center in Goheung, Oct. 21. Credit: Korea Aerospace Research Institute
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s first domestically built rocket reached its intended altitude Oct. 21, but its third-stage engine shut down about 50 seconds early, releasing its 1,500-kilogram dummy payload at less than orbital speed.
The dummy payload is expected to fall back to Earth south of Australia, but the Korean Aerospace Research Institute did not immediately provide a timeline for the reentry.
“The flight of Nuri was completed. I’m very proud of this. Regrettably, it didn’t reach the goal it aimed at,” President Moon Jae-in announced at Naro Space Center in Goheung, where the kerosene-fueled, three-stage KSLV-2, also known as Nuri, lifted off at 4 a.m. Eastern, carrying a 1.5-ton dummy payload. “Shooting a rocket to the height of 700 kilometers itself is a great achievement. We are one step closer to outer space.”