Design flaw blamed for failed debut of South Korea’s new satellite launcher

SEOUL, South Korea — The failed October debut of South Korea’s KSLV-2 rocket is being blamed on improperly anchored helium tanks contained in the three-stage rocket’s higher stage. 

The kerosene and liquid oxygen-fueled KSLV-2, South Korea’s first completely home rocket, carried out properly in the course of the early phases of the Oct. 21 take a look at flight however launched its dummy payload into an unsustainable orbit when its upper-stage engine shut down 46 seconds early. 

A failure investigation led by the Korea Aerospace Analysis Institute (KARI) concluded that improperly designed constructions allowed helium tanks contained in the higher stage to come back free throughout flight, leading to a leak that disadvantaged the rocket’s KRE-007 engine of liquid oxygen.

“The help constructions holding helium tanks contained in the third-stage oxidizer tank weren’t correctly designed to account for a drive known as buoyancy,” KARI stated in a Dec. 29 statement. Buoyancy, the upward drive exerted by a fluid that pushes an object, rises together with a rocket’s altitude, which was not accounted for, in accordance with KARI.

The helium tanks with the defective anchors have been contained in the higher stage’s oxidizer tank, which was full of liquid oxygen wanted for the rocket’s ignition. With the helium tanks coming free, they disrupted pipelines inside the oxidizer tank and led the liquid oxygen to leak, leading to early termination of the ignition, KARI defined.

“We apologize for not anticipating the rising buoyancy that occurred in Nuri’s acceleration course of,” stated Choi Hwan-seok, vp of KARI and chief of the investigative crew, referring to KSLV-2’s Korean nickname. “We are going to appropriate the problem by fortifying the helium tank anchors and the oxidizer tank’s construction.”

KARI officers stated it would take time to repair the issue, indicating that KSLV-2’s second take a look at flight, scheduled for Might 2022, could be delayed.

KSLV-2 — which price South Korea an estimated 2 trillion gained ($1.8 billion) to develop — is step one for South Korea’s bold area applications, together with the launch of the nation’s first robotic lunar lander on a domestically developed rocket by 2030. 

The rocket is the successor to KSLV-1, a two-stage rocket with a Russian-made essential stage. The KSLV-1 suffered consecutive failures in 2009 and 2010 earlier than lastly delivering a 100-kilogram satellite tv for pc to orbit in 2013.

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