S.Korea says first solid-fuel space rocket launch a success
The South Korean military reported successfully test-firing a solid-fuel space rocket on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, South Korea's military stated it successfully tested a solid-fuel space rocket for the first time, a milestone that it claims would someday help launch a network of satellites to better monitor threats such as North Korea.
The launch is the first of its kind since South Korea and the US agreed last year to lift decades-long constraints on the South's ballistic missile and rocket research, and comes less than a week after North Korea conducted its most powerful missile test ever.
A statement by the Ministry of National Defense stated that "The success of the test launch of this solid-propelled space launch vehicle is an important milestone in strengthening the defense power of our military's independent space-based surveillance and reconnaissance field at a very critical time," referring to North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last week.
According to the statement, the launch was developed with "pure Korean technology."
South Korea performed a test flight of the Nuri liquid-fueled rocket, the country's first domestically constructed space launch vehicle, in October. Nuri launched but failed to properly deploy a fake satellite into orbit, yielding mixed results for a test launch that signified a significant step forward for the country's ambitious space goals.
According to the defense ministry, a solid-fuel design rocket like the one launched Wednesday, would be a simpler and less costly way to develop and manufacture.
The huge solid-fuel engine, fairing separation, stage separation, and upper-stage attitude control technology were all validated during Wednesday's test, according to the statement.
The ministry stated that it intends to utilize the rocket in the future to launch a tiny satellite or a number of ultra-small satellites into low-Earth orbit, and to subsequently transfer some technology to the private sector to help revitalize the local space industry.