The performance verification satellite will help scientists prepare to launch more satellites in the future by testing an antenna, generator and other satellite components and transmitting its trajectory data to earth, said Ahn Sang-il, a senior researcher at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.
Attached to the performance verification satellite were four CubeSats, mini research satellites, which were built by South Korean universities. These, weighing between 7 and 21 pounds, will be released into orbit one by one starting June 29.
South Korea plans to conduct four more test launches of the Nuri system until 2027, including one scheduled for early next year. It is also developing a new rocket more than twice as powerful as Nuri. The country aims to land an uncrewed spacecraft on the moon using its own rocket by the early 2030s.
South Korea hopes to build satellite-based navigation and next-generation communications networks using its own rocket technologies. It also wants to take a portion of the world’s satellite-launching market. Most rocket launches around the world have been carried out by the United States, Russia, France, China, Japan and India.
Until now, South Korea has relied on other countries to carry its satellites. South Korea used a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, the company founded by Elon Musk, to place its first military communications satellite into orbit in July last year. It plans to send a moon orbiter this fall, also aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.