Fox News on January 30, 2013, published an AP report on South Korea launching a satellite into space from its own soil for the first time amid increased tensions after archrival North Korea accomplished a similar feat and was condemned by the United Nations. Excerpts below:
The South Korean rocket blasted off from a launch pad in the southwestern coastal village of Goheung. Science officials told cheering spectators minutes later that the rocket delivered an observational satellite into orbit.
The launch is a culmination of years of efforts by South 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.
South Korea’s success comes amid increased tension on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea’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 a double standard 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.
Seoul eventually may be able “to build better missiles and scrutinize North Korea with a better satellite,” Mr. Kong said. “There are dual purposes in space technology.”
South Korean satellites were already in space, launched from countries including Japan, the U.S. 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.
The satellite launched by Seoul is designed to analyze weather data, measure radiation in space, gauges distances on earth and test how effectively South Korean-made devices installed on the satellite operate in space. South Korean officials said it will help them develop more sophisticated satellites in the future.