More than 300 Korean companies are the cornerstones of Nuri’s success

The Nuri space rocket blasted off from its launch pad at Naro Space Center in Goheung County, South Gyeongsang Province on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Close collaboration of all parties involved is key to a rocket launch, because a small technical glitch could ruin years of effort.

Behind the successful launch of South Korea’s first Nuri rocket on Tuesday are the joint efforts of more than 300 companies in the country.

Korea Aerospace Industries, based in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, was the effective leader of the pack. KAI has been in charge of assembling all rocket parts supplied since joining the Nuri project in 2014.

KAI was also commissioned to build a fuel tank and a first stage oxidizer tank. Twenty-four KAI engineers have been dedicated to Nuri’s second launch attempt since June 2021.

The rocket engine was manufactured by Hanwha Aerospace, the space arm of Korean conglomerate Hanwha. Hanwha Aerospace oversaw the assembly of the six rocket engines used to put the satellites into orbit.

Four 75-ton engines were used in the first stage, another 75-ton engine was in the second stage, and one remaining 7-ton engine was used in the third stage. To date, Hanwha has manufactured 46 rocket engines, including those for the third Nuri launch.

Meanwhile, shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries has overseen construction of the launch pad in Goheung County, South Jeolla Province. It took 4 and a half years to build. Hyundai Heavy also built a 48-meter umbilical tower next to the launch pad which was used to supply electricity, fuel and oxidizer to the rocket.

According to the government, some 1.5 trillion won ($1.16 billion) has been allocated to the 300 participating companies, accounting for about 80 percent of the Nuri Project’s total budget.

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