South Korea successfully launches Nuri space rocket

STORY: South Korea has launched its first domestically produced space rocket, Nuri.

Lifting off from the Naro Space Center on the southern coast of South Korea on Tuesday (June 21), Nuri placed a 1.3-ton dummy satellite and four small cube satellites into orbit.

The successful launch is a major step forward for the country’s efforts to jumpstart its space program.

And, helps pave the way for South Korea’s ambitious goals for 6G networks, spy satellites, and even lunar probes.

The country also plans to launch a range of military satellites, but officials deny the new space rocket has any use as a weapon.

Nuri uses only Korean rocket technologies, and is the country's first domestically built space launch vehicle.

In its first test in October, the rocket completed its flight sequences, but the launch ultimately failed.

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) says it has plans for at least four more test launches by 2027.

South Korea is also working with the United States on a lunar orbiter, and hopes to land a probe on the moon by 2030.

President Yoon Suk-yeol, vowed to keep an election pledge to create a new agency to take charge of space affairs, according to a statement by his office.

Space launches have been a sensitive issue on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea faces sanctions over its nuclear-armed ballistic missile program.

In recent years, South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to scrap bilateral limits on Seoul's missile and rocket development, clearing the way for new civilian and military launches.