Tuesday, August 25, 2009
South Korea’s first space rocket blasted off on Tuesday, carrying a scientific satellite in a launch likely to boost its nascent space program that is being warily monitored by North Korea.
The payload separated from the second stage booster about eight minutes after lift-off and entered Earth’s orbit, a ground control announcer said at the space centre on the southern coast of the country about 350 km (220 miles) from Seoul.
The launch was expected to rile prickly North Korea, which was hit by U.N. sanctions after it fired off a long-range rocket in April in what was widely seen as a disguised missile test.
Pyongyang, which chastised the world body for the punishment, said earlier this month it was paying close attention to the South’s rocket and how the world would react to it.