The second launch of a South Korean missile has been postponed to June 21

SEOUL, South Korea — The second launch of South Korea’s first domestically built rocket is scheduled for June 21, delayed a week due to strong winds and a technical glitch.

“We called a launch management committee meeting and decided to proceed with the second launch on June 21,” Kwon Hyun-joon, a senior science ministry official, said in a June 17 livestream media briefing.

Kwon said the KSLV-2 three-stage rocket fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen lay horizontally in a hangar at the Naro Space Center after a faulty sensor in the first-stage booster was replaced with a new one.

The rocket will be rolled back to the launch pad on June 20, he said.

The second launch of KSLV-2 was originally scheduled for June 15, with a backup launch window of June 16-23.

However, due to high winds, it was pushed back to the next day – and delayed again after engineers discovered a problem with a level sensor installed in the oxidizer tank of the rocket’s first stage booster pad during a final prelaunch check.

According to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the readings from the defective sensor remained unchanged when the tank was filled. The rocket was pulled off the launch pad and rolled back to the hangar on June 15, where it underwent an investigation to determine the cause of the problem.

KARI said engineers identified the problematic part inside the sensor and replaced it, and Kwon said they didn’t find any other problems either after inspecting the rest of the rocket.

Kwon noted that the rescheduled launch date could change depending on weather conditions.

Naro Space Center expects a 60-70% chance of rain on June 21, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

KSLV-2 is South Korea’s first domestically developed space rocket capable of delivering up to 1,500 kilograms of payload into low Earth orbit. The first stage booster features a cluster of four KRE-075 motors, the second stage features a single KRE-075 motor, and the third stage features a KRE-007 motor.

The rocket reached its intended altitude maiden flight 21 October, but its third-stage engine shut down 46 seconds early, releasing its 1,500-kilogram dummy payload at less than orbital velocity.

According to KARI, the dummy payload fell back to Earth south of Australia. Later, the premature shutdown of the engine was blamed improperly anchored helium tanks within high school.

At the upcoming launch, the rocket will carry five satellites — a 180-kilogram performance test satellite and four smaller satellites developed by domestic universities.

Alongside the upcoming mission, South Korea plans to conduct four more KSLV-2 launches by 2027 to further advance the country’s space rocket program.

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