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S.Korea Successfully Launches Satellite into Orbit

South Korea says it has successfully launched a satellite into space - a major feat that comes just weeks after its neighbor North Korea did the same.

The Korea Space Launch Vehicle lifted off Wednesday, amid a cloud of billowing white smoke, disappearing into the sky above the Naro Space Center on the country's southern coast.

Science Minister Lee Ju-ho told reporters that the rocket successfully placed the satellite into orbit, declaring the mission "a success of all our people."

It took three tries for South Korea to successfully carry out the mission. In 2009, a rocket achieved orbit, but the satellite did not deploy. A year later, the rocket exploded just two minutes after liftoff. More recent attempts were called off at the last minute.

Wednesday's launch comes just a month after North Korea successfully sent what it said was a weather satellite into space. The move was widely condemned by the international community as a violation of United Nations sanctions.



The U.N. Security Council last week responded to the launch by unanimously passing a resolution tightening sanctions on North Korea.

Pyongyang angrily declared the sanctions to be an "act of war" and has threatened to carry out its third nuclear test in response.

North Korea is upset at what it sees as a double standard by the international community, which views South Korea's space program as legitimate, but its own as hostile.

In recent weeks, North Korea has stepped up its aggressive rhetoric, promising to wage a "merciless" war against the South and its ally, the United States.

The two Koreas have been technically in a state of war for more than 60 years. The agreement that ended the 1950-53 civil war was only a truce.

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