South Korea has successfully launched the Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle (KSLV-1), the nation's first orbital rocket, which deployed a small satellite. The launch marks the third attempt, after two previous launches failed.
The rocket launched from Naro, in the southern area of the Korean Peninsula, early on 30 January. South Korea claims the rocket's payload, a small scientific satellite called STSAT-2C - virtually identical to the one lost in 2009 during KSLV's previous launch attempt - has successfully reached orbit, but no independent confirmation was available as of press time.
The launch comes weeks after arch-rival North Korea's first successful launch, which orbited a small but evidently uncontrolled satellite. The two Koreas remain officially at war, and though major fighting ended with a 1953 truce, the nations are separated by a wide ideological gulf and heavily-fortified border.
KSLV-1 is built atop a liquid oxygen/kerosene-fueled Russian first stage - the same which will power the in-development Angara launch vehicle- and a Korean solid-fuel second stage. KSLV's first launch, in 2009, failed when half of the satellite fairing failed to separate. The second attempt, in 2010, failed due to fault in the Angara liquid stage.
South Korea is in the early stages of designing an indigenous first stage to replace the Russian-built one.