South Korean satellite continues its operations

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : April 26, 2013, 10:05 | Updated : April 26, 2013, 10:05
The first satellite launched from South Korean soil is working normally, officials said Thursday, a day after Seoul achieved its space milestone during a time of high tensions over archrival North Korea’s recent threat to test a third nuclear device.

A South Korean rocket carrying the satellite blasted off from a launch pad Wednesday in the southwestern coastal village of Goheung. Science officials told cheering spectators minutes later that the rocket delivered an observational satellite into orbit. In a brief statement Thursday, the Science Ministry said the satellite was working normally and transmitting data on its orbit.

The launch is a culmination of years of efforts by South Korea to advance its space program and cement its standing as a technology powerhouse whose semiconductors, smart phones and automobiles command global demand. North 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.

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 rocket launch that also put a satellite into space, and it 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. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the US had observed the “successful” satellite launch.

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