After years of failure and disappointment, South Korea has officially entered space. At 4pm, the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 blasted off from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province. It is successfully in orbit and the satellite has transmitted its first signals to a station in Norway.
The launch was hailed by President Lee Myung-bak as a major milestone in Korea's space development program and research. Spectators from all over the country shouted, applauded and waved national flags as they watched the liftoff in person or on television. This success was especially bittersweet as the nation had tried and failed at several launch attempts in previous years.
The South Korean government has now initiated a five-year plan for its space program which aims to develop an indigenous 75-ton thrust engine by 2018. In addition to that, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute seeks to launch 14 new projects including the construction of a space vehicle test center and an astronaut training facility.
While South Korea is lauding its successful launch, there is no word yet from North Korea who was just sanctioned by the UN for their own rocket launch in December. Both nations have now launched a satellite into space.