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Countdown to Nuri launch: the scientists behind S. Korea's first homegrown rocket Updated: 2021-10-21 09:57:15 KST

(standup, ed: steve)
"This is Oenaro Island?? a small island off the south coast of South Korea with around 2-thousand residents. It boasts of beautiful coastlines and peaceful campsites. But it??s also home to one of South Korea??s biggest and boldest operations?? its very own space program."

And on Thursday the spotlight will be on this small island as South Korea's first independenlty developed satellite launch vehicle will take off from a facility on the island called Naro Space Center.
Two engineers who have been working tirelessly over the past decade say everything they can do has been done and the rest is out of their hands.

"There's a lot of pressure, so even if we tested it numerous times, as you know, a rocket has more than 300-thousand parts. But, those parts have to work as planned and according to our sequence. We work as hard as we can, but there's always going to be pressure for us."

"As engineers, we believe that the launch will 100-percent be a success. But as all things do, even if we believe in it, unless destiny is on our side, it may not go our way."

20 years of rocket science under his belt, still.. every single launch is special.

"I've cried at all my launches, I don't even know why. For this one, too, the time I've spent on it could flash before my eyes I don't know. But I've never felt such pressure before, so I don't even know if I'll be able to cry this time."

Whether it succeeds or not the launch of Nuri is extremely valuable to the engineers.

"Even if we don't succeed this time around, we will be gaining a lot of new technology. We can analyze the aspects we succeeded at and the ones we didn't and improve on them to make the second one a success."

"This is a model of Naro?? a rocket developed with Russia that had two failed launches before its successful launch nine years ago. Everyone is hoping that Nuri succeeds at the first time of asking, but what??s just as important is that the country dared to try."

There's a great deal of pride among the local residents who, after seeing the facility being built all those years ago, are now able to see how far Korea's space development has come.

"Nuri launch is amazing for us because we used to rely on foreigners, but now it's South Korean technology. This will bring joy to our island."

Cheers and wishes have come from all across the nation.
Citizens wrote messages to hang on this tree at the National Science Center which have since been delivered to the engineers.

"I hope this is a step towards space for South Korea. I wish the best for the launch."

"Thank you for the hard work."

"We wish for a successful launch. Go, Nuri"

Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News, Goheung"
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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