South Korea successfully launches native rocket and satellite into space

South Korea launches first native rocket and satellite into space

The spacefaring club has been a small one: to date, just 10 countries have managed to build their own rocket and successfully deploy at least a satellite. Make that 11. South Korea has entered the fold by successfully launching its mostly self-developed, two-stage Naro rocket and putting the vehicle's Science and Technology Satellite-2C payload into orbit. The achievement comes after two prominent failures in 2009 and 2010, and is partly symbolic when there's no plans for a short-term follow-up. However, the success gets the ball rolling for the long run -- the Korea Aerospace Research Institute is working with contractors to build completely in-house rocket stages by 2016, and reach 300 tons of thrust as soon as 2018.