South Korea has launched its first satellite into orbit which brings its ambition of becoming a player in the space industry closer.
The Nuri rocket was built by the government’s Korea Aerospace Research Institute together with hundreds of local companies.
Seventy minutes after the liftoff, South Korea announced that Nuri had succeeded in its mission of thrusting a 357-pound working satellite, as well as a 1.3-ton dummy satellite, into orbit 435 miles above the Earth.
It was the second launch of the Nuri satellite which took off from Goheung, about 500km (310 miles) south of Seoul.
A previous attempt to launch a dummy satellite into space failed in October 2021.
South Korea’s space program is aiming to land a probe on the moon by 2030.
It was a moment of national pride, with the takeoff shown live on all the country’s major TV stations, In the run-up to the launch, the government and local media had billed the Nuri mission as a momentous event through which South Korea would secure a foothold in space technology.
“South Korea’s science and technology took a great step forward today,” said Lee Jong-ho, the government’s science and technology minister.
For decades, South Korea has nurtured an ambition to join the elite club of nations capable of launching communications and other satellites in orbit using domestic rockets. It also wanted to send its own surveillance satellites into space to better monitor a growing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea.
BY THE NEWYORK TIMES