S Korea puts first satellite into space

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South Korea has launched a rocket in its third attempt to place a satellite in space from its own soil. The Naro rocket blasted off from a launch pad in the south-western coastal village of Goheung Wednesday. Science officials told cheering spectators minutes later that the rocket delivered an observational satellite into orbit. Kim Ju-ho, the South Korean Education, science and technology minister, said that South Korea had “leapt up a step” to become a space nation. “The South Korean government will use this overwhelming moment as a strong, dynamic force to independently develop a South Korean space launch [programme] and will concentrate more on space development, so that we can go to space with our own technology around the year 2020,” Kim said. Wednesday’s development came a month after the successful launch of a North Korean rocket. Previous attempts by South Korea in 2009 and 2010 failed to launch; last-minute technical problems forced two recent efforts in October and November to be aborted.