South Korea is a firm believer in locally assembled products. From domestically manufactured missiles to building their own rocket for space, the country has come a long way in terms of technology. According to a report from AP News, South Korea successfully launched its first domestically-built space rocket on Thursday. The test satellite, unfortunately, didn’t go all the way to orbit but it was still a huge step forward for the peninsular nation’s space ambitions.
South Korea’s first test flight to space consisted of lifting the KSLV-11 Nuri rocket into the stratosphere, decorated with the country’s national flag from the Naro Space Center at 4:00 am EDT. The Nuri rocket, which means “world” in Korean, was developed to lift 1.65-ton payloads to orbit 370 to 500 miles above the planet’s surface and advance South Korea’s space program to higher levels. South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in watched the launch from a nearby space center and confirmed that the rocket had successfully completed its initial flight sequences but failed to send the test payload into orbit.
At a speech at the site of the launch, President Moon Jae-in said, “Unfortunately, we did not fully reach our goal. He also encouraged the workers involved in the launch and told them that the project would continue, despite facing a setback in the start. “It’s not long before we’ll be able to launch it exactly into the target trajectory,” he added.
South Korea’s Minister, Lim Hye-Sook also commented on the launch and said, “Today’s launch left some disappointment, but it is significant as it was the first test of the launch vehicle independently developed with our own technology. It’s meaningful to confirm that all major launch steps were carried out and we have secured core technology.”
Officials confirmed that the final stage of the rocket shut down 40-50 seconds earlier which prevented the payload from achieving sufficient velocity and reaching the targeted orbital trajectory. Investigations are still underway for the cause of the early shutdown but the workers are still hopeful to make a comeback in May next year.