South Korea’s 1st Nuri rocket fails to reach orbit in debut launch test

South Korea’s first launch of its new rocket, dubbed Nuri, seemed to go smoothly after liftoff Thursday (Oct. 21), but engineers have determined that its mock payload did not reach the proper orbit for unknown reasons.

The Nuri rocket lifted off about an hour behind schedule from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province at 4 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT, 5 p.m. local time). The country has been developing its second rocket design, also known as Korean Space Launch Vehicle-II, for more than a decade. South Korea’s previous rocket, Naro, made its first successful launch in 2013 on the third attempt. Naro carried a 220-pound (100 kilograms) satellite on its milestone launch; Nuri’s mock satellite for this launch weighed 1.5 tons (1.4 metric tons).

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