South Korea to conduct first launch of commercial-grade satellite

The Science Ministry said the rocket will blast off from the country's space launch center on a southern island on May 24. This will be the first time Japan has attempted to launch a rocket to the moon.

South Korea to conduct first launch of commercial-grade satellite

South Korea will launch its first commercial satellite next month aboard a rocket built in the country as part of its program for space development, officials announced Tuesday.

Officials in South Korea claim that the home-grown Nuri rocket has no military purpose. Some experts believe that the development of rockets like this would help South Korea acquire the technologies it needs to build larger missiles and launch satellites for reconnaissance, despite its animosity with North Korea.

South Korea launched its first satellite using the Nuri rocket in June of last year. This launch was a "performance-verification" satellite, which South Korean officials said was mainly intended to test the rocket's capacity. Next month's event will be the first commercial satellite launched into orbit.

The Science Ministry announced that the rocket would blast off on May 24, from the country's launch center in the south. In a statement, the ministry said that it had planned a back-up launch date between May 25 and 31 in case weather conditions could cause schedule changes.

The rocket will be carrying one main satellite, called "Next Generation Small Satellite 2", and seven smaller cube-shaped Satellites. The statement stated that the main satellite's task is to verify imaging radar technology, and observe cosmic radiation in a near-Earth orbit.

The rocket's second and third stages have been assembled and the final environmental testing of the eight satellites is being conducted.

The Nuri rocket launched its second launch last year. The rocket's dummy launch failed to reach orbit in its first launch, which took place in 2021. Officials said that South Korea will launch three more Nuri rockets after the launch next month.

The ministry released a statement that said: "The third Nuri launch is of great importance as it is first attempt to launch commercial-grade satellites and first time a company will jointly produce the homegrown Nuri Rocket."

South Korea is the 10th-largest economy in the world. It's a major manufacturer of smartphones, semiconductors, and automobiles. Its space program is behind those of China, India and Japan. South Korea launched a number of satellites in space since the early 1990s. However, all of these satellites used foreign rocket technology and launch sites.

North Korea launched Earth observation satellites in orbit in 2012 and 2016. However, there is no evidence that the satellites have been operational. The United Nations imposed international sanctions on North Korea because they viewed the two launches as a disguised test of their banned long-range missile technologies.