SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday began the process to position the homegrown rocket Nuri on the launch pad at Naro Space Center, a day ahead of its liftoff to send multiple satellites into orbit.
Nuri, also known as KSLV-II, will reach the launch pad about an hour after it left an assembly building at 7:20 a.m., according to the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
It is expected to be erected at the space center in the southern coastal village of Goheung before noon and undergo prelaunch checks in the afternoon.
The liftoff -- Nuri's third launch -- is likely to take place at 6:24 p.m. Wednesday, but the time could change, the ministry said.
In June last year, South Korea successfully launched the space rocket Nuri in its second attempt to put satellites into orbit, reaching a major milestone in the country's space program.
South Korea has become the seventh country in the world to develop a space launch vehicle that can carry a more than 1-ton satellite, after Russia, the United States, France, China, Japan and India.
In 2021, Nuri successfully flew to its target altitude of 700 kilometers but failed to put a dummy satellite into orbit, as its third-stage engine burned out earlier than expected.
On Wednesday, Nuri will perform a mission to launch practical satellites into orbit and will carry eight satellites, including the country's second next-generation small satellite and four microsatellites developed by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, codenamed SNIPE.
It is the first time that Nuri is tasked with handling separate multiple satellites in one flight.
South Korea has invested nearly 2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) in building Nuri since 2010. The project was carried out with domestically made technology on its own soil, including the design, production, testing and launch operation.
The country plans to conduct three additional Nuri rocket launches by 2027 as part of efforts to further advance the country's space rocket program.