Thursday May 25, 2023
SEOUL: South Korea said on Thursday it launched a domestically built rocket Nuri for the first time, paving the way for its country to have a competitive advantage in the global space race.
The three-stage rocket lifted off from a launch facility — Naro Space Centre — in the country's coastal region at 6:24pm local time.
"We report to the public that the third launch of Nuri, which was independently developed to secure domestic space transportation capacity, has been successfully completed," said Minister of Science and Technology Lee Jong-ho.
The rocket was over 47 metres (155 feet) long and 200 tonnes in weight, costing about two trillion won ($1.5 billion). It successfully separated its eight satellites into orbit.
He added that the main satellite communicated with the country's King Sejong Station in Antarctica. He further stated that this launch confirmed South Korea's "potential for launch services for various satellite operations and space exploration".
Le added that South Korea will launch three more rockets by 2027 as part of the Nuri project.
The launch of Nuri was hailed by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who believed that it will give the country a competitive edge in the global space race.
"The success of Nuri's third launch is a splendid achievement that declares South Korea has joined the G7 space powers," he said in a statement.
South Korea also plans to land the spacecraft on the Moon by 2032 and Mars by 2045.