Nuri (KSLV-II)
KSLV-II Nuri launching from the Launch Pad 2 at Naro Space Center, 21 October 2021.
FunctionOrbital launch vehicle
Country of originSouth Korea
Project cost 1.96 trillion; US$1.7 billion (spaceport included) [2]
Height47.2 m (155 ft) [3]
Diameter3.5 m (11 ft)
Mass200,000 kg (440,000 lb)
Payload to LEO (200 km)
Mass3,300 kg (7,300 lb)
Payload to SSO (500 km)
Mass2,200 kg (4,900 lb)
Payload to SSO (700 km)
Mass1,900 kg (4,200 lb)[4]
Payload to GTO
Mass1,000 kg (2,200 lb)[5]
Launch history
Launch sitesNaro Space Center, LC-2
Total launches3
Notable outcome(s)0
First flight21 October 2021, 08:00 UTC
Last flight25 May 2023, 09:24 UTC (Active)
Type of passengers/cargoDummy satellite
First stage
Height21.6 m (71 ft)
Diameter3.5 m (11 ft)
Powered by4 KRE-075 SL
Maximum thrust2,942 kN (661,000 lbf) [6]
Specific impulse261.7 seconds (Sea level),
298.6 seconds (Vacuum) [7]
Burn time127 seconds
PropellantJet A / LOX
Second stage
Diameter2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Powered by1 KRE-075 Vacuum
Maximum thrust788 kN (177,000 lbf) [6]
Specific impulse315.4 seconds (Vacuum) [6]
Burn time148 seconds
PropellantJet A / LOX
Third stage
Height3.5 m (11 ft)
Diameter2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Powered by1 KRE-007 Vacuum
Maximum thrust68.7 kN (15,400 lbf) [6]
Specific impulse325.1 seconds (Vacuum)
Burn time498 seconds
PropellantLOX / Jet A-1

Nuri (Korean누리; Korean pronunciation: [nuriː], meaning "world" in native Korean), also known as KSLV-II (Korean Space Launch Vehicle-II),[8] is a three-stage launch vehicle, the second one developed by South Korea and the successor to Naro-1 (KSLV-1).[9] Nuri is developed by Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).[10][11][3][12] All three stages use indigenously developed launch vehicle engines, making Nuri the first indigenously developed South Korean orbital launch vehicle (the Naro-1 launch vehicle used a Russian-made first stage).

The South Korean government has set SpaceX as a "role model", striving to develop relatively cheap and reliable rockets competitive enough for the commercial launch market.[13]

On 21 October 2021, Nuri made its initial orbital launch attempt at 08:00 UTC and it launched a 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) dummy satellite payload into what was planned to be a 700 km (430 mi) Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). However, despite the payload reaching the targeted apogee (700 km), the third stage shut down about 46 seconds earlier than planned and the payload did not achieve orbital speed.[12][14][15]

Nuri made its second flight on 21 June 2022, 07:00 UTC, with a payload of 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) including a 1,300 kg (2,900 lb) dummy satellite payload and a 180 kg (400 lb) performance verification satellite (PVSAT) including four cube satellites. The second launch was successful, putting all the satellites onto the 700 km (430 mi) Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).[16] As a result of this launch, South Korea became the seventh country in the world with the ability to put a satellite with a mass of at least one ton, into orbit.[17][18]

After the two test launches, Nuri showed higher than expected performance, increasing its payload from 1,500 kg (3,300 Ib) to 1,900 kg (4,200 Ib).[4]

Nuri is the first projectile developed with independent Korean domestic technology throughout all processes, including design, manufacturing, and testing. With its final successful launch, South Korea has become the seventh country in the world to have a medium-sized liquid-propellant rocket engine over 75 tons.[19]


The second launch of KSLV-II at the Naro Space Center, 21 June 2022

Nuri (KSLV-II) is a three-stage launch vehicle. The first stage booster uses four KRE-075 SL engines generating 266.4 tons of thrust with a specific impulse of 289.1 seconds. The second stage booster uses a single KRE-075 Vacuum engine, which has a wider nozzle for increased efficiency in vacuum with a specific impulse of 315.4 seconds. The third stage booster uses one KRE-007 engine with a specific impulse of 325.1 seconds. Both engine models use Jet A as fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) as oxidizer.[20]

Future versions

Further improvements will be added after the success of KSLV-II program, mainly increasing the thrust of the KRE-075 from 744 kN (167,000 lbf) to 849 kN (191,000 lbf) and specific impulse from 261.7 seconds to 315.4 seconds. There are also plans on making the engine lighter by methods such as removing the pyrotechnic ignitor or limiting its gimbal range. This will allow the payload capacity of the modified KSLV-II to increase from 1.5 tons to 2.8 tons.[21]


When technology development for Nuri began by October 2010,[20][22] the overall design goal was to develop a new expendable medium-lift launch vehicle that would be entirely developed with indigenous technology from Korea. As Nuri first reached orbit in June 2022, the total cost of the development program had been approximately US$1.5 billion.[16]

Engines development

The third launch on 25 May 2023

KRE-075 sea level engine

An artist's render of Nuri's 75-ton-class engine
KRE-075 engine
Fuel Jet A / LOX
Thrust 66.6 tf (SL), 75.9 tf (Vacuum) [7]
Specific Impulse 298.6 seconds [7]
Height 2.9 m
Diameter 2 m
Cycle Gas generator

The KRE-075 engine was developed in April 2016 after the 30 tf engine development program.[25][20]

KRE-075 vacuum engine

Fuel Jet A-1/LOX
Thrust 80.3 tf (Vacuum) [7]
Specific Impulse 315.4 seconds [7]
Cycle Gas generator

KRE-007 engine

Fuel Jet A-1/LOX
Thrust 7.0 tf [7]
Specific Impulse 325.1 seconds [7]
Cycle Gas Generator


The Test Launch Vehicle (TLV) was a single stage launch vehicle (with a planned two stage version), qualifying the performance of the KRE-075 engine which powers the KSLV-II. The TLV was 25.8 m (85 ft) in length, 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) in diameter, and with a mass of 52.1 tons. The main-stage liquid rocket propellant engine was fully gimballed.[26][27] With the 2nd stage engine installed, the two-stage version of TLV could perform as a small satellite launch vehicle.[28]

2018 flight

Wet Mass 52.1 tons [29]
Dry Mass 38 tons
Height 25.8 m
Diameter 2.6 m
Stages 1
Engine 1 KRE-075
Payload mass simulator

The TLV was launched from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, on 28 November 2018. The main objective of the first suborbital flight was for the single-stage rocket's main engine to burn 140 seconds, reaching a 100 km altitude before splashing down in the sea between Jeju Island and Okinawa Island.[30]

The maiden flight was first delayed from 25 October 2018 for one month, due to abnormal readings detected in the launch vehicle propellant pressurization system.[31] The test flight was then rescheduled for 28 November 2018, at 07:00 UTC (16:00 KST). No payload was to be placed into orbit.[32]

The launch of the TLV while deemed successful with its main engine burning for 151 seconds in a 10-minute flight,[33] was not broadcast live.[34] After reaching a maximum altitude of 209 km (130 mi), the launch vehicle stage splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 429 km (267 mi) southeast of Jeju Island.[35]

As the TLV was meant to serve as a test craft, and as the flight ended in a success, there was not a second TLV launch.


An upgraded variety of KSLV-II for geostationary equatorial orbit is under development. It will cluster four KRE-090 engines in the core stage, with four side boosters equipped with one KRE-090 engine each. The second stage will be powered with a vacuum-optimized variety of the same KRE-090 engine (KRE-090V), and the third stage will implement a newly developed KRE-010V oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine.[36]


Nuri will be used in launching several Earth observation satellites, such as KOMPSAT, medium-class satellites and LEO reconnaissance satellites. It is planned to support South Korea's Moon exploration mission to send orbiters and landers. Nuri will be South Korea's first launch vehicle to enter the commercial launch service market. The launch cost is estimated to be around US$30 million, which is cheaper than its Asian counterparts. This will allow for South Korea to provide cheap launch services for Southeast Asia countries.[37]

South Korea plans to launch a high-weight rocket named KSLV-3 in 2030 instead of improving the KSLV-2. The decision is aimed at narrowing the technology gap with other countries.[38]

Instead, it plans to develop a low-cost rocket that miniaturizes the KSLV-2 and is considering launching a military satellite to monitor North Korea.[39]

Launch history

Flight No. Date / time (UTC) Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
1 October 21, 2021, 08:00 Naro Space Center South Korea Dummy satellite 1,500 kg Low Earth (planned) KARI Failure[12]
Third stage shut down 46 seconds early, failed to reach orbit[40]
2 June 21, 2022, 07:00[41] Naro Space Center South Korea Dummy satellite (1.3 tons), performance verification satellite (180 kg, with 4 CubeSats)[42] 1,500 kg Low Earth, SSO KARI Success[43]
3 May 25, 2023, 09:24[44] Naro Space Center South Korea NEXTSat-2, SNIPE (4 CubeSats), JLC-101-v1-2, Lumir-T1, KSAT3U 240kg Low Earth, SSO KAIST, KASI Success[45]
4 NET 2025 Naro Space Center South Korea CAS500 3 500kg Low Earth, SSO KARI Planned

See also


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