South Korea joins global space club with rocket launch



THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published — Thursday 31 January 2013

Last update 31 January 2013 8:11 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

SEOUL: South Korea launched a satellite into space from its own soil for the first time yesterday amid increased tensions after archrival North Korea accomplished a similar feat and was condemned by the United Nations.
The S. Korean rocket blasted off from a launch pad in the southwestern coastal village of Goheung. Officials told cheering spectators minutes later that the rocket delivered an observational satellite into orbit. Officials expected to know today whether the satellite is operating as intended. A crowd gathered around a TV at a train station in downtown Seoul to watch the launch. “I am proud we have entered the ranks of satellite powers,” office worker Hyun Day-sun said.
The launch is a culmination of years of efforts by S. Korea — Asia’s fourth-largest economy — to advance its space program and cement its standing as a technology powerhouse whose semiconductors, smartphones and automobiles command global demand. N. Korea’s long-range rocket program, in contrast, has generated international fears that it is getting closer to developing nuclear missiles capable of striking the US.
S. Korea’s success comes amid increased tension on the Korean Peninsula over North’s threat to explode its third nuclear device. Pyongyang is angry over tough new international sanctions over its Dec. 12 rocket launch and has accused its rivals of applying double standards toward the two Koreas’ space programs.
Washington and Seoul have called North Korea’s rocket launch a cover for a test of Pyongyang’s banned ballistic missile technology.
Pyongyang recently acknowledged that its long-range rockets have both scientific and military uses, and Kong Chang-duk, a professor of rocket science at S. Korea’s Chosun University, said the same argument could apply to the South.
Seoul may eventually be able “to build better missiles and scrutinize Pyongyang with a better satellite,” Kong said. “... There are dual purposes in space technology.” Both Koreas see the development of space programs as crucial hallmarks of their scientific prowess and national pride, and both had high-profile failures before success. S. Korean satellites were already in space, launched from countries including Japan, the United States and Russia. Seoul tried and failed to launch satellites on its own in 2009 and 2010; more recent launch attempts were aborted at the last minute.
US experts have described the North’s satellite as tumbling in space and said it does not appear to be functioning, though Pyongyang has said it is working.
Pyongyang’s state television made no mention of the S. Korean launch, but about an hour after liftoff it showed archive footage of N. Koreans cheering the three-stage rocket from last month. Images from the launch frequently appear in N. Korean propaganda.
The satellite launched by Seoul is designed to analyze weather data, measure radiation in space, gauges distances on earth and test how effectively their devices installed on the satellite operate in space. S. Korean officials said it will help them develop more sophisticated satellites in the future.
South did need outside help to launch the satellite: The rocket’s first stage was designed and built by Russian experts. Pyongyang built its rocket almost entirely on its own, S. Korean military experts said earlier this month after analyzing debris retrieved from the Yellow Sea in December.
Kim Seung-jo, S. Korea’s chief space official, told reporters that his country should be able to independently produce a rocket capable of putting a satellite into orbit by as early as 2018.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

MADINAH/JEDDAH: Pilgrims and visitors performing tawaf (circumambulation) of the Holy Kaaba or praying around it may look forward to relief from the blazing sun, as a proposal to shade the Mataf area is being studied.According to local media, the mat...
JEDDAH: Users of WhatsApp were a joyous lot on Saturday as the call facility finally became available on the popular messaging service in the Kingdom.The facility, which is for free now, through WhatsApp was earlier banned in Saudi Arabia and only me...
RIYADH: A Border Guard soldier died on Saturday in a missile attack from across the Yemeni border in Dhahran Al-Jonoub in Asir.The man, identified as Pvt. Abdulilah Abdullah Hamoud Al-Shahrani, was patrolling the border in the area when the attack to...
RIYADH: Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman takes pride in his religion and his country, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) chairman.“King Salman lives his life in a confident and re...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Khaled Al-Muhaisin, the president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), are scheduled to meet soon to clear resolve differences between Nazaha and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). According...
JEDDAH: Starbucks has clarified that the ban on women’s entry at one of its Riyadh stores is only temporary and that the coffee shop will be opened to them soon after a separation wall is erected.Starbucks reportedly said that members of the Committe...
RIYADH: The Saudi government is strongly supporting the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building as part of an ambitious plan to expand the Kingdom’s shift toward organic agriculture, which will be good for the country’s nut...
RIYADH: An attempt to smuggle in 2.4 million amphetamine pills was foiled along the coast of Tabuk.An Interior Ministry spokesman said the traffickers fled from the coast after they were chased by Border Guard patrols.The spokesman said a suspect boa...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) closed the booths of five companies which participated in the recently concluded five-day Career Week because of lack of interest in employing applicants.Career Week, held under the auspices of Custodian of Two Holy...
RIYADH: The Kingdom has been developing Oroug Bani Maradh as a protected area for eco-tourism in the heart of the Empty Quarter.Aside from a number of live flora and fauna, there’s are non-domesticated animal species in the wildlife sanctuary located...
JEDDAH: Two women and three children, including an infant, lost their lives in separate fire incidents on Friday.A woman and two children died when their tent caught fire at Al-Issawi, 35 km into the desert, on Friday. The operations room of Civil De...
RIYADH: Arrangements are being made at the Ministry of Health to open a new portal for the Zika virus on its website.Faisal Al-Zahrani, the ministry spokesman, said that the new portal will give adequate details and updates about the virus which has...
ARAR: A Saudi father has urged his two sons to immediately surrender, after their names recently appeared on the list of suspects who participated in the terror attack on the Special Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir in August last year.Salem Yaslam Al...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has called on schools to implement a national anti-drug plan and given a four-month period to implement the plan and report the results.Educational directorates, according to a recent circular, have issued a directiv...
NAJRAN: School of Dentistry students at Najran University expressed disappointment with group failure of 13 students, accusing the faculty members of being unfair with their examinations.The university spokesman, Dr. Zuhair Al-Omari, said the eighth...

Stay Connected

Facebook