South Korea Launches Its First Domestically Produced Space Rocket

The rocket will eventually place military satellites that will serve as "unblinking eyes" over North Korea.

South Korea Launches Its First Domestically Produced Space Rocket

Photo:  KSLV-II launch.  Credit: Office of the President.

On October 21, the three-stage Nuri rocket 누리호 - also known as Korea Space Launch Vehicle-II (KSLV-II) - launched from the Naro Space Center 나로 우주센터 in Goheung, Jeollanam-do Province 전라남도 고흥.

Although the rocket successfully went through the three stages of rocket ignition and satellite placement, the dummy satellite was not stabilized in the orbit as the third stage of the rocket burned out faster than planned. The next rocket test is scheduled for May 2022.

South Korea plans to use the rocket to place “unblinking eyes” a.k.a military satellites in a position to observe North Korea, an important step in Seoul’s escalating militarization. (See previous coverage, “South Korea as a Military Power.”)

If successful, South Korea would become the seventh country in the world to successfully launch a space rocket with an operational satellite weighing more than one ton, following the United States, Russia, France, Japan, China and India.

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