S.Korea successfully launches homegrown space rocket

The South Korean government has announced it successfully launched the country's first domestically produced space rocket.

The Nuri rocket blasted off from a space center in Goheung in the country's south at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

It rose to an altitude of 700 kilometers, releasing and placing satellites into orbit. A performance verification satellite successfully made contact with the ground.

This is Nuri's second launch. In the first attempt in October last year, a test satellite did not enter the planned orbit.

South Korea has invested more than 1.95 trillion won, or about 1.5 billion dollars, to develop the three-stage rocket measuring about 47 meters long.

Science Minister Lee Jong-ho told reporters that the sky of South Korea is now wide open and the country's science and technology has taken a great step forward.

South Korean media are giving extensive coverage to the launch. They say South Korea has become the seventh nation in the world to have developed a space launch vehicle that can carry a satellite weighing more than 1 ton, with its own technology.

Seoul plans to carry out four more launches by 2027 in order to improve the rocket's technical stability.