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South Korea launches first space rocket Nuri

South Korea has launched its first homegrown rocket, stepping up the country’s ambitions in space.

The Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle II, known as Nuri, took off from Goheung located 500km (310 miles) south of Seoul. It put a 1.5-tonne dummy satellite into orbit.

South Korea is the seventh country to successfully send a rocket into space.

But it also comes as an arms race heats up between North and South Korea. Both have recently test-fired new weapons.

Nuri cost South Korea an estimated 2 trillion won (£1.23bn or $1.6bn) to develop. Weighing 200 tonnes and measuring 47.2 metres long, it is fitted with six liquid-fuelled engines.

It blasted upwards in a cloud of smoke, BBC commentator said: “It looks like it’s soaring into the sky without problems..”

South Korea plans to carry out four more launches of the Nuri until 2027 to increase reliability, according to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) that is overseeing the launch.

While South Korea is seen as a technological powerhouse, it has lagged behind other countries in its development for space exploration.

Previous attempts by Seoul to launch a rocket in 2009 and 2010 failed, with the second exploding minutes after take-off.

South Korea is aiming to send a probe to the moon by 2030.

Editing by Tola Oguneye