Wednesday, January 30, 2013

South Korea successfully sends first satellite-carrying rocket into orbit

South Korea is the latest addition to the list of countries who have successfully launched their own satellite into space. In spite of two previous failed attempts and several postponements, South Korea finally sent their 140-ton satellite-carrying rocket, KSLV-1, into orbit on Wednesday from the Naro Space Center. This comes after the satellite launch of rival country, North Korea, last month.

"After analyzing various data, the Naro rocket successfully put the science satellite into designated orbit," Science Minister Lee Ju-Ho said in a statement. "This is the success of all our people.”

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) is especially designed to collect and examine study weather data, measure radiation in space, and test how indigenous devices installed on the space probe operate in space efficiently. South Korea will use this as a test to develop more sophisticated satellites in the future.

The first stage of KSLV-1 was designed and built by Russia under an agreement between the two governments.

Almost four years ago, South Korea also launched a satellite into space, but the spacecraft was not deployed properly due to a failure in release mechanisms on the second stage. A year after that, the country attempted another launch, which was also unsuccessful because the rocket exploded just two minutes after its launch.

The recent satellite launch of South Korea comes amid growing tensions with neighbor country, North Korea, as it threatens to conduct its third nuclear test after successfully launching a long-range missile that placed a supposed satellite into orbit last December. However, the accomplishment of South Korea is a result of the country's years of effort to improve its space program and capitalize on its position as a global technology powerhouse.

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