The rescheduled launch date will be announced as early as Thursday morning after the glitch is handled overnight. The launch window has been set from May 25 to 31.
If the technical issue is resolved by Thursday morning, the launch may be rescheduled to 6:24 p.m. that day.
The communication glitch was discovered with a control system for a helium pressure release valve on the launch system, and does not directly involve the rocket itself, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
The issue did not occur in the Nuri rocket’s previous test launches in Oct. 2021 and June 2022.
“The technical issue was not found during the pre-launch check completed on Tuesday, but was discovered at 3 p.m. today,” Oh Tae-seog, first vice minister of science and ICT, said in a press briefing at the Naro Space Center.
“The valve itself works when operated manually, but because the glitch in the launch system may lead to an issue during the automated pre-launch operation, the launch management committee has decided to call off the liftoff that has been previously scheduled for 6:24 p.m.,” Oh said.
The Nuri rocket is currently erected on the launch pad at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla. KARI engineers will inspect the rocket and the launch system in its current erect position.
“The problem is not with the launch vehicle itself, therefore the rocket will remain erected on the launch pad during the inspection process,” Oh said.
When the rescheduled launch will take place will be determined after a launch management meeting, which will be held as soon as the technical issue is resolved, according to KARI.
The Science Ministry and the KARI initially had confirmed at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday that the launch would proceed as planned amid favorable weather conditions. The injection of liquid fuel and oxidizer was supposed to begin at 3 p.m. but was called off at the last minute.
The Nuri rocket, or the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-II, experienced similar delays in its launch schedule during its previous test flight as well.
The second launch of the Nuri rocket, which took place on June 21, was delayed twice due to weather condition and a technical glitch.
Its first test launch in Oct. 2021, ended in partial success with the rocket’s dummy payloads failing to stay in the targeted orbit.
In its third launch, the Nuri rocket aims to carry its payloads into a targeted altitude 550 kilometers above the ground, which will be its first attempt at deploying a practical, “commercial-grade” satellite, as the ministry describes it.
BY SHIN HA-NEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]