Starting next year, the government will invest 2 trillion won in developing a next-generation launch vehicle that is more powerful than the Korean launch vehicle “Nuri.” The next-generation launch vehicle is tasked with launching a lunar lander in 2032.
The Ministry of Science and ICT announced that the 'Next Generation Launch Vehicle Development Project' had passed the preliminary feasibility study at the general committee of the National Science & Technology Commission held on Tuesday. The development period will be 10 years, from 2023 to 2032, with a total project cost of about 2.0132 trillion won.
The launch performance of the next-generation launch vehicle will be significantly improved compared to the Korean launch vehicle Nuri. The Nuri has the ability to launch 3.3 tons into a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 200 kilometers, but the next-generation launch vehicle will be able to send 10 tons. In terms of thrust, the Nuri is 300 tons, and the next-generation launch vehicle will be 500 tons stronger. Thrust will increase with the new engine. A “multi-stage combustion cycle engine” with 10% higher fuel efficiency than Nuri’s gas generator engine and no performance degradation caused by soot will be developed. In the future, re-ignition and thrust control technologies will also be developed to make upgrading to a reusable launch vehicle easier.
Unlike the Nuri, which the Korea Aerospace Research Institute previously developed, an integrated company will be systematically selected for the next-generation launch vehicle and participate in all stages of launch vehicle development and operation, such as design, manufacturing, assembly, test, and launch. The plan is to allow private companies to secure development capabilities for independent launch vehicles after the project ends.
The next-generation launch vehicle will launch a total of three times. In 2030, a lunar orbit performance verification satellite will be launched to check the performance of the launch vehicle, and a lunar lander verification module will be launched in 2031, followed by a lunar lander in 2032. It will also be used to launch a probe that will arrive on Mars in 2045.