South Korea conducts the first successful launch of a domestic space rocket

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea successfully launched its first own space rocket on Tuesday, officials said, a triumph that spurred the country’s growing space ambitions but also proved it has key technologies to build a space-based surveillance system and larger rockets amidst of hostilities with rival North Korea.

The three-stage Nuri rocket managed to release its working “performance verification” satellite after its launch from South Korea’s Space Launch Center at 4 p.m. and place it at an altitude of 700 kilometers (435 miles), the science ministry said.

“Dear fellow citizens, the Republic of Korea space is fully open. Science and technology in the Republic of Korea has made great strides,” Science Minister Lee Jong-Ho said at a televised news conference. “The government will continue its bold march towards a space power with the people.”

Earlier live TV footage showed the 47-meter rocket, decorated with a national flag and its official name in Korean, rising into the air amid bright flames and thick white smoke.

The launch has made South Korea the 10th nation in the world to launch a satellite using its own technology.

It was South Korea’s second launch of the Nuri missile. On the first attempt last October, the rocket’s dummy payload reached the desired altitude of 700 kilometers but failed to make orbit because the rocket’s third-stage engine burned out earlier than planned.

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