S. Korean private space company successfully flies test launch vehicle

The South Korean private space company Innospace has successfully flown a test launch vehicle, marking the first of its kind by the country's private sector, local media reported on Tuesday.

Hanbit-TLV, the suborbital test launch vehicle independently developed by the space startup, was launched from the Alcantara Space Center in northern Brazil at 2:52 p.m. local time (1752 GMT) on Sunday.

The 8.4-ton thrust single stage hybrid rocket saw its engine combust for 106 seconds, making a flight of 4 minutes and 33 seconds before falling into the Brazilian waters.

It was 12 seconds less than the originally planned engine combustion time of 118 seconds, but the engine operated normally during the flight while maintaining its thrust stability, Innospace was quoted by local media as saying.

The South Korean startup became the country's first private company for space launch vehicles with an independent engine technology capable of providing commercial launch services.

With the engine performance verified, Innospace reportedly planned to produce Hanbit-Nano, a two-stage small satellite launch vehicle that can put a 50-kg payload into a 500-km Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

The company plans to test-launch Hanbit-Nano and provide commercial launch services next year.