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KAIST Launches Woorisae II
Professor Sejin Kwon from the Department of Aerospace Engineering and his team succeeded in launching a science rocket, named ‘Woorisae II’ at Saemanguem reclamation. This rocket was developed in collaboration with the Satellite Technology Research Lab (SaRTec). The test-firing was conducted at 10:43 am on Sunday October 28, 2018 (35°N 42’ 06” 126°E 33’ 36”, Radius of 0.6NM). This launch was the follow-up to the previous launch that was cancelled due to not gaining approval for using the airspace. Professor Kwon’s team put a great deal of effort into securing the land for the rocket launch. As a result, they got approval from the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency for the land and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for the use of the airspace. The Republic of Korea Air Force and United States Air Force also approved the use of the airspace for the launch of the science rocket for research purposes. Woorisae II is 2.2 meters long with a diameter of 20cm, and weighs 13kg without a payload. The rocket is powered by a hybrid rocket with hydrogen peroxide oxidizer producing 100 kg of force. The Woorisae II sounding rocket was designed to burn for five seconds and then continue inertial flight for 20 seconds. The target altitude of Woorisae II was set at 3,300 feet to comply with the airspace approval. The team developed the core components, including a hybrid rocket propulsion system, flight computer and parachute recovery system, as well as a ground control station. The flight data was transmitted to the ground station and recorded to onboard computer memory. When a malfunction occurs during the flight, Woorisae II was designed to terminate the power flight for safety by shutting the propellant valve and deploying the recovery parachute. All the rocket subsystems and components were developed and supplied by domestic startup companies such as INOCOM and NARA SPACE TEHCNOLOGY. Generally, sounding rockets reach an altitude beyond 30km and are widely used for testing rocket engines and reentry materials as well as for conducting microgravity experiments. Instruments for atmospheric science can also be installed to measure fine dust and high altitude atmosphere. Besides these science and technology purposes, most advanced spacefaring countries have sounding rocket programs to train and educate young people in the field of space science. Professor Kwon said, “We will plan to launch upgraded rockets on November 4 and December 6 because we already received approval from the related agencies for using this land and airspace. Based on the experiment, we are planning to develop a cost-efficient small launch vehicle that is capable of delivering a cube satellite into Earth’s orbit.” (Photos of preparing the rocket launch)
Prof. Kwon Unveils Home-Made Lunar Module
A KAIST research team led by Prof. Se-Jin Kwon at the Department of Aerospace Engineering has unveiled a small lunar module developed in cooperation with engineers at a local company, Space Solutions, university authorities said on Thursday (Nov. 27). The home-made lunar module, the vehicle that conducts survey on the surface of the moon, is 40 centimeters tall and weighs 25 kg. Equipped with a liquid-fuel rocket engine with a maximum thrust of 350 newtons (N), it is capable of carrying objects weighing around 20 kg to the lunar space from the space ship. Professor Kwon"s team held a demonstration of the lander for journalists at a KAIST lab on Friday (Nov. 28). Lunar landers are critical in developing lunar spacecraft, and countries with advanced aerospace technologies have been careful to protect their core technologies. According to Prof. Kwon, every part of the rocket engine, including the catalyst, was home made. The rocket"s propulsion system features a state-of-the-art propellant valve developed by Space Solutions, which enables thrust control. Lunar modules between the 100 and 200 kilogram range, developed by NASA (U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration), costs around $100 million, said Kwon. "It is expensive to guarantee the safety of developers of an American module because the fuel contains carcinogens. But the rocket engine created by KAIST team could cut development costs to about half that because it is powered by environmentally friendly fuel," he said. The lander, product of a six-year-long effort, represents remarkable advancement in the technology for developing spacecraft for lunar missions.
Professor Sejin Kwon develops thruster for small satellite
- World’s first application of high-performance liquid propellant to small satellite thruster - Show about four times higher thrust performance than the cold gas thruster of University of Surrey, the state-of-the-art technology in the field of small satellite - Expect a considerable contribution to the extension of the lifespan and mission range of small satellites The team of Professor Sejin Kwon (Department of Aerospace Engineering in KAIST/ President Nam Pyo Suh) and Space Solution Inc. (President Jaehun Lee) have jointly developed a micro thruster for small satellite motion-control. Kwon"s team has succeeded in developing an integrated thruster which can be mounted on a satellite by integrating catalyst reactor and propellant-supplying system, which are the core technologies of small satellite thruster system. For the first time in the world, Kwon’s team employs a high-performance liquid propellant to the thruster. In the thruster, liquid-state hydrogen peroxide is dissolved into vapor and oxygen at the catalytic layer to emit a huge amount of heat. And, the emitted heat is converted into the kinetic energy of the gas to produce a propulsive force. This thruster can perform the motion-control of a several tens-kilogram satellite with a propulsive force of less than one Newton and shows about four times higher thrust performance than the cold gas thruster of University of Surrey, who possesses the state-of-the-art technologies in the field of small satellites. Professor Kwon said, “Although University of Surrey has also tried to develop a similar system, it’s not yet solved the problem on catalytic reactor bed. I expect this thruster will considerably contribute to the extension of the lifespan and mission range of scientific small satellites. Also, this thruster can be employed for the attitude control of the upper end of the launch vehicle, which is now being developed by the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).” <Thruster module for small satellite application>
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