South Korea has joined an elite group of countries launching rockets
South Korea successfully launched a domestically-made Nuri rocket Thursday, strengthening the country’s commercial and military aerospace capabilities and joining a small group of countries capable of developing and launching their own spacecraft.
The 200-ton, three-stage liquid-fueled rocket launched from the Naro Space Center on the country’s southern coast and launched a dummy satellite into orbit about 700 kilometers above the Earth.
In the next ten years, there are plans to launch 100 satellites.
The Korean Aerospace Research Institute, which is the equivalent of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States, developed the rocket.
“A country that is a leader in space exploration will be a leader in the future. We will make unwavering investments in the long term so that the Republic of Korea can make a leap forward as a space power,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.
Over 100 satellites will be launched in the public sector over the next decade, according to Moon, who also stated that the government will speed up technological cooperation with the private sector so that private companies can develop solid-propellant rockets by 2024.
South Korea sees its rocket program as enhancing its competitiveness in next-generation 6G communications, plans five more launches by 2027 and sending an unmanned spacecraft to the moon by 2030.
Washington welcomed advances in South Korea’s space program, including the country joining NASA’s Artemis program to return humans to the surface of the moon. South Korea said it joined a list of six countries that have developed and launched spacecraft with a satellite weighing more than a ton.