South Korea on Thursday carried out its first ever test of a domestically produced space rocket, but admitted that it had not succeeded in its key task of putting a dummy satellite into orbit.
The rocket took off at 5 pm (0800 GMT) from the Naro Space Centre near the southern coastal town of Goheung. South Korean television stations broadcast the launch live.
The 200-ton KSLV-II-type rocket is the first launch vehicle developed and built entirely in South Korea, but it did not perform as well as expected.
President Moon Jae In, who watched the launch at the space centre, said afterwards that although the rocket had completed all flight sequences, “We did not completely achieve our goal.”
The rocket did not succeed in putting a dummy satellite into orbit, he said.
Another test is planned for May 19 next year.
The government in Seoul plans to launch communications satellites and lunar probes, among other things, as part of its space programme in the coming years.
The rocket launch was originally scheduled an hour earlier, but according to the Science Ministry, there were delays in inspecting the valves on the missile.
Text by Fabian Kretschmer, and photo: Courtesy © dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH