South Korea Succeeds in Putting Satellite into Orbit for the First Time

Only weeks after North Korea did the same, intensifying the space race between countries

By on January 30th, 2013 15:01 GMT

North Korea isn't the only Korea that wants a satellite in orbit, or at least rockets capable of doing that, but it was the first. Now, South Korea joins with its own success, the first successful satellite launch. It's the country's third try, but this time the launch went through without a hitch.

KSLV-1, or Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, a 140-ton, 108-feet (33 m) tall rocket built with Russian expertise, carried its payload into low Earth orbit and South Korea reports that the satellite has entered a stable orbit.

The small 100 kg satellite was built by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and will conduct radiation measurements during its one-year lifespan.

South Korea enters the small club of countries that have successfully put a satellite into orbit using home-built technology, even though part of the three-stage rocket was built by a Russian company.

The launch comes at a tense time in the region, the UN Security Council has imposed tougher sanctions on North Korea following its recent launch. South Korea claims its program is purely scientific and commercial.

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