August 09
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South Korea on Tuesday carried out its first successful satellite launch using a domestically-designed rocket, AP reported, citing official sources.

The three-stage Nuri rocket carried the satellite to a target altitude of 700 kilometers after launching at 4 p.m. local time from South Korea's spaceport on the southern island, the Science Ministry said.

The satellite transmitted its status signals to an unmanned South Korean station in Antarctica. It carries four small satellites that will be launched in the coming days for Earth observation and other missions, ministry officials said.

The launch made South Korea the 10th country in the world to launch a satellite into space using its own technology.

This was South Korea's second launch of a Nuri rocket. During the first attempt last October, the rocket's payload mockup reached the proper altitude but did not reach orbit because the rocket's third-stage engine burned out earlier than planned.

South Korea, the world's 10th largest economy, is a major producer of semiconductors, cars and smartphones. But its space development program lags behind that of its Asian neighbors China, India and Japan.

Since the early 1990s, South Korea has sent many satellites into space, but all of them used foreign rocket technology or launch pads. In 2013, South Korea successfully launched a satellite from its territory for the first time, but the first stage of the rocket was Russian-made.

South Korea plans four more Nuri launches in the coming years. It also hopes to send a probe to the moon, build a new generation of space launch vehicles and send large satellites into orbit.

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