South Korea has announced plans to launch a suborbital test vehicle on November 28. The vehicle is a test of what will become the first stage of the country’s three-stage KSLV-II rocket.
The KSLV-II test vehicle will lift off from the Naro Space Center 485 kilometres (300 miles) south of the capital, Seoul. The suborbital test vehicle is expected to reach an altitude of 100 kilometres before returning to Earth splashing down in the East China Sea.
Although the launch is currently scheduled for the afternoon of November 28, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has prepared contingencies should weather become an issue. In a press release published on the KARI website, officials noted that should weather conditions delay the launch, a backup launch window is available from November 29 to December 4.
Following the launch, flight data (including flight distance, maximum altitude, and flight angle) collected during the flight will then be analysed in preparation for upcoming tests. The launch of the first operational KSLV-II rocket is expected in 2021.
The launch of the suborbital test vehicle had initially been scheduled for the end of last month. However, during cryogenic testing, a leak in the pressurised liquid oxygen tanks was discovered. A piping connection running from the tank was discovered to be the source of the leak. The part was replaced and the vehicle successfully passed the following cryogenic test.