[이데일리 함정선 기자] Korea’s first private space launch vehicle ‘Hanbit-TLV’ was successfully launched, and it is predicted that the era of ‘New Space’ will begin in earnest. In particular, it proves that domestic space startups have the capability to provide commercial launch services that can put small satellites into orbit, and there are also expectations for revitalization of the privately-led space industry.
Innospace, a space startup, announced on the 21st that the test launch vehicle ‘Hanbit-TLV’ was successfully launched from the Alcantara Space Center in Brazil at 2:52 am on the 20th, Korea time.
The Hanbit-TLV test launch vehicle is for verifying the flight performance of the hybrid rocket engine to be applied to the two-stage small satellite launch vehicle ‘Hanbit-Nano’, and is equipped with one hybrid engine with a thrust of 15 tons. Hanbit-Nano is a launch vehicle capable of transporting a 50kg-class payload for the satellite launch service business.
According to Innospace, the test launch vehicle Hanbit-TLV burned stably for 106 seconds after being ignited on its own launch pad, and after flying normally for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, it fell normally within the safety set area in the Brazilian sea.
The Hanbit-TLV showed a gap of 12 seconds compared to the original target engine burning time of 118 seconds, but as a result of comprehensive analysis of in-flight data, it was finally confirmed that the engine operated normally and maintained thrust stability in flight, and the launch was successful. did.
This is the result of the final analysis of flight performance analysis data such as △combustion chamber pressure △electric pump output △control system operation △flight trajectory and attitude measured during flight.
On this day, it was confirmed that the inertial navigation system ‘SISNAV’ of the Brazilian Air Force’s Department of Aeronautical Science and Technology (DCTA), which is the payload carried by the Hanbit-TLV, successfully completed its mission by securing flight environment operation performance data normally.
The domestic space industry predicts that various positive effects will follow from the successful launch of Innospace.
First of all, Innospace has its own technology capable of providing a ‘commercial launch service’ that can launch small satellites into orbits requested by customers. It is the first private space launch vehicle company in Korea.
It is evaluated that it has risen to the top of the engine development company among space launch vehicle companies based on hybrid rocket engine technology around the world. Hybrid small satellite launch vehicle companies include Vaya Space (USA), Gilmour Space Technology (Australia), Nammo Space (Norway), and Hylmpulse (Germany).
Soo-Jong Kim, CEO of Innospace, said, “The success of the Hanbit-TLV test launch means that we have secured the technological capability to independently develop rockets, while at the same time opening an opportunity to knock on the door to the global space launch service market.” “We will not stop at writing a new history, but will focus on steadily strengthening our launch vehicle R&D capabilities as well as preparing for commercialization for corporate growth and promoting order-taking activities to stably enter the space market.”
Related experts are evaluating that it will be able to start the new space era in Korea. It is judged that the successful launch of the startup has also laid the foundation for the commercialization of small satellite launch services in the private sector.
Above all, with Innospace’s launch attempt and success, expectations are raised for the overhaul of domestic laws and systems that have been lacking. One of the reasons Innospace carried out the launch in Brazil is that the foundation for launching civilian projectiles in Korea was not properly prepared.
Ahn Hyeong-joon, head of the Policy Research Team 2 of the National Space Policy Research Center at STEPI, said, “The US and other countries are already revitalizing the space industry centered on the private market. .
Next, team leader Ahn emphasized, “It is an opportunity for small launch vehicles to develop centering on the private market in the future, and for this, we need to create systems and laws that allow launches in Korea, as well as demand for small satellite launches.”
At the same time, based on the successful launch of Hanbit-TLV, there is also a prospect that space-related investments can be expanded to startups.
Kang Kyung-in, a research fellow at KAIST, said, “It is unconventional to demonstrate commercial viability by successfully launching a launch vehicle.”