Leading up to Nuri's 2nd launch : Strong winds, a glitch and a miracle
Updated: 2022-06-20 10:39:42 KST
June 14th 7 AM.
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute and the Ministry of Science and ICT delay Nuri's second launch originally scheduled for June fifteenth 24 hours due to strong winds.
"Today's weather forecast posed obstacles to the transportation of the rocket, and once it's erected the screening of umbilical cords and connecting the cables could've been dangerous for the engineers."
Rise and shine June 15th at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, Jeollanam-do Province where in one day, South Korea's first homegrown space rocket would blast off from.
With Nuri still next to the umbilical tower, engineers realize something's not right with the oxidizer level sensor in the three-stage rocket's first stage its readings static when they're supposed to change in value
an issue that didn't arise during its first launch last year which failed to put a dummy satellite into orbit after the rocket's third stage burned out earlier than expected Officials concluding at the time the loosening of a fixture holding a helium tank inside the third stage's oxidizer tank was the problem.
And on June 15th at 5:15 PM comes the decision to postpone the launch indefinitely.
"After trying to figure out the issue at the launch pad, we realized it was not possible to get up close and analyze the problem while it's standing up. That's why we decided it's impossible to carry out the launch at the moment."
With the monsoon season also approaching, fears mount that an issue with the sensor itself, not the electric cable or terminal box, could require the separation of Nuri's first two stages and push the launch well past June 23rd, the last day of the rocket's alternative launch window.
Then on June 17th at 5:30 PM, a miracle: authorities announce they've replaced the core of the oxidizer level sensor in Nuri's first stage that was malfunctioning, without disassembling the rocket and confirm the sensor now works fine.
"At first, we thought Nuri's first and second stages would have to be separated to replace the problematic sensor itself but researchers at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, after close examination, found the issue could be solved by replacing just one key part that was malfunctioning."
Hence a new launch date: June 21st.
And now, all that's left?
Nuri soaring into the skies so that South Korea can become the world's seventh country to launch a space rocket independently capable of placing a satellite weighing over a ton into orbit using domestic technology.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News, Goheung.