South Korea launches homegrown Nuri rocket in major space milestone

Wed, 22 Jun 2022 04:56:37 GMT
Space Daily

Goheung, South Korea (UPI) Jun 21, 2022 South Korea successfully launched its first homegrown...

South Korea successfully launched its first homegrown rocket on Tuesday, deploying a satellite into low-Earth orbit in a major milestone as the country jumps into the space race with both commercial and military implications.

The three-stage Nuri rocket blasted off from the Naro Space Center in the southern coastal town of Goheung on Tuesday afternoon.

With the launch, South Korea became the tenth country to send a satellite into space with its own technology.

The launch was the second liftoff for the 2-ton Nuri rocket, also known as the Korean Space Launch Vehicle II, after a mission in October failed to successfully deliver a dummy satellite.

South Korea has spent more than $1.5 billion developing Nuri since 2010 and has four more launches scheduled through 2027.

South Korea has previously relied on the U.S. military to monitor the North, but Seoul has signed a contract with Elon Musk's SpaceX to launch five spy satellites by 2025, with the first launch on a Falcon 9 rocket in 2023.

Much of the activity in South Korea's space sector comes on the heels of an agreement with the United States last year to end decades-long restrictions on Seoul's missile development.

While North Korea has stayed in the spotlight with a flurry of weapons tests since the beginning of 2022, South Korea has shown off military hardware of its own, including a submarine-launched ballistic missile and a supersonic cruise missile.

South Korea's space ambitions also extend to the moon.

NASA's fourth attempt Monday to complete a practice launch day exercise for its huge uncrewed moon rocket Artemis 1 was deemed a success at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.