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KARI has been laying solid foundations for the development of a Korean-made space launch vehicle ever since it began developing the Korea Sounding Rocket (KSR) in the early 1990s.
After developing KSR-I, a single-stage scientific rocket, in 1993, KARI successfully launched KSR-II, a 2-stage scientific rocket capable of flying at three times the altitude of its predecessors, in 1998. On the strength of this achievement, KARI began to develop KSR-III, a liquid propelled scientific rocket, as the intermediate phase of a satellite launch vehicle development project in accordance with the Master Plan for the Promotion of Space Development, and successfully launched it in 2002.
The development of scientific rockets has led to the securing of the basic technologies - including system integration, the design and fabrication of a liquid propelled engine, engine testing, and induction control and position control - required for the in-house development of launch vehicles, as well as laying the basis for the development of Naroho, Korea’s very first space launch vehicle, and that of a unique Korean model of launch vehicle.
01KSR-Ⅲ, the Liquid Propulsion Sounding Rocket
KSR-III is Korea’s first liquid propulsion rocket developed to secure key technologies for small satellite launch vehicles. Outcomes included the inertial navigation system, thrust vector control and position control system, tank structure reduction technology, localization of electronic modules, propellant feed system and ground support system technology, and liquid rocket launch operation technology. These outcomes were the basic technologies for space launch vehicles and were utilized for the development of Naro.
02KSR-Ⅱ, the Medium-Size Sounding Rocket
The two-stage solid propellant rocket carries about 150 kg scientific equipment to observe the ion layer environment and ozone layer distribution at the maximum altitude of 137.2 km above the Korean Peninsula.
Through the development of KSR-Ⅱ, KARI secured the essential space launch vehicle technologies such as drive system, control system, guidance algorithm, and inertial navigation system design and operation.
03KSR-Ⅰ, the Sounding Rocket
The development of the single-stage solid propellant sounding rocket, which carries about 200 kg of the payload to observe the atmospheric layer and the ozone layer above the Korean Peninsula up to 35km - 75km altitude, began in 1990. KARI launched KSR-I twice in 1993 to observe vertically the ozone distribution in the stratosphere above the Korean Peninsula with the mounted UV radiometer.