(Update 1: Adds detail of satellite failure, adds details, changes headline, re-ledes.)
Seoul, Oct 21 (EFE).- South Korea Thursday launched its first domestically developed space rocket although it failed in its bid to put a simulation satellite load into orbit.
Nuri was launched from the Naro Space Center, in Goheung County (about 340 km south of Seoul), at 5 pm local time (8:00 GMT).
President Moon Jae-in said he was “proud” of the achievement, which gave the country an entry into an elite club of 10 nations capable of developing, manufacturing, and launching space vehicles.
“Regrettably, we did not perfectly reach the goal, but we made a very creditable achievement in the first launch,” he told reporters in remarks cited by local news agency Yonhap.
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute said the 200-ton three-stage rocket reached the low Earth orbit about 16 minutes after the takeoff, marking an important milestone in the South Korean pursuit of a satellite launch program.
The objective of the launch was to demonstrate that Nuri, the first space launch vehicle built entirely with domestic technology, was capable of putting a satellite into orbit.
The launch vehicle uses four 75-ton liquid engines in stage 1, a 75-ton liquid engine in stage 2, and a 7-ton liquid engine in stage 3.
South Korea first successfully launched a space rocket in 2013 with Naro-1, a three-phase rocket jointly developed with Russia.
South Korean authorities plan to carry out another launch in May and continue testing the rocket between now and 2027 to market it to other countries in the future.