South Korea has launched a space rocket developed domestically for the first time.
The tens of meters long KSLV-II, also known as the Nuri, was launched in the Goheung area and reached an altitude of 600 kilometres within minutes. As a test, the rocket is to put a satellite into orbit around the earth.
The development of the more than 47 meters long rocket took about ten years and cost about 2 trillion won. The launch is a milestone for South Korea. In recent decades, this has grown to become the twelfth economy in the world but has lagged behind in the space sector. Asian countries like China, Japan and India already had advanced space programs.
Neighboring North Korea has also launched a satellite into orbit. That happened in 2012 and was followed with suspicion by Western countries. They saw the launch as a disguised missile test. The Stalinist-ruled North Korea regularly causes international unrest by testing ballistic missiles and using threatening language towards other countries.