Satellite working normally: South Korea
By Sam Kim ,APSEOUL -- 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.
February 1, 2013, 1:01 am TWN
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.
A crowd gathered around a TV at a train station in downtown Seoul to watch the afternoon launch. “I'm proud we have entered the ranks of satellite powers,” office worker Hyun Day-sun said.
South Korea's success comes amid increased tension on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea's threat to explode its third nuclear device.
North Korea recently acknowledged that its long-range rockets have both scientific and military uses, and Kong Chang-duk, a professor of rocket science at South Korea's Chosun University, said the same argument could apply to the South.
Seoul may eventually be able “to build better missiles and scrutinize North Korea with a better satellite,” Kong said. “There are dual purposes in space technology.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. had observed the “successful” satellite launch.
She said there was no basis for comparing the South and the North's rocket programs. Unlike the North, the South has developed its technology responsibly and is an active participant in international nonproliferation agreements, showing its program has no military intent, she said.
“The North should not see it as a threat because they too can enjoy the same transparency with regard to the program that the rest of us have, which is a far cry from how the DPRK behaves,” Nuland told reporters. DPRK stands for the formal name for North Korea.