April 11, 2023 -SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea plans to conduct its first launch of a commercial-grade satellite aboard a domestically built rocket next month as part of its space development program, officials said Tuesday.
South Korea’s officials say its homegrown Nuri space launch vehicle has no military purposes. But some experts say the development of such rockets would eventually help the country acquire technologies needed to build bigger missiles and launch reconnaissance satellites amid animosities with rival North Korea.
In June last year, South Korea conducted its first satellite launch using the Nuri rocket. That launch involved what South Korean officials called a “performance verification” satellite mainly designed to examine the capacity of the rocket while next month’s event is meant to put a commercial-grade satellite into orbit for the first time.
The Science Ministry said the rocket will blast off from the country’s space launch center on a southern island on May 24. A ministry statement said it had set a backup launch date from May 25-31, in case of possible schedule changes due to weather.