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S. Korea’s first civilian test launch vehicle fired successfully

S. Korea’s first civilian test launch vehicle fired successfully

Posted March. 22, 2023 08:00,   

Updated March. 22, 2023 08:00


The first step to launch a civilian-made space launch vehicle into space has been taken. South Korean startup Innospace has successfully launched its test launch vehicle, “Hanbit-TLV,” which was entirely built with domestic technology, advancing the development of an actual launch vehicle aimed to be placed in orbit by next year.

On Tuesday, the South Korean space startup announced the successful test flight of Hanbit-TLV from the Alcantara Space Center of the Brazil Air Force. The company is developing a two-stage commercial rocket for small satellite payloads, ‘Hanbit-Nano,’ targeted to be launched next year. The test flight on Tuesday was to verify the flight performance of a 15-ton thrust first-stage engine of Hanbit-Nano.

In an online press conference, Innospace said the test launch vehicle stably combusted for 106 seconds and flew for four minutes and 33 seconds before falling into Brazilian waters. The company said that although the combustion was originally planned to last 118 seconds, the engine functioned normally and maintained stable thrust.

The company plans to make a foray into a 500-kilogram-small satellite market. Its product lineup includes Hanbit-micro, capable of carrying 150 kilograms, and Hanbit-mini, capable of carrying 500 kilograms. “We aim to develop a cube satellite of 10 kilograms,” the company CEO said. "We expect that the successful flight of Hanbit-TLV will enable us to conclude an actual contract."

The flight performance of the first stage engine was verified with the successful flight of Hanbit-TLV, but there are still many mountains to climb until the firing of an actual launch vehicle. It took four years for the Nuri to be successfully launched into orbit since the successful flight of the test launch vehicle in 2018 that verified a 75-ton thrust engine. The company also must develop a 3-ton engine for the second stage, as well as the fairing and separation technology.