South Korea uses a homegrown space rocket to launch a commercial satellite.


On July 17, 2020, the Republic of Korea’s government launched a commercial-grade satellite with a domestically produced space rocket, Naro-1. The Naro-1, built by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) with Russia, launched from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province. The Naro-1, which stands 30 meters (98 feet) in height, is made up of two stages – the first stage containing a Korean-made engine and the second stage containing a Russian-made engine.

The satellite launched is a commercial-grade Earth observation satellite from the KT Corporation, a Korean telecommunications company. The satellite, GEO-KOMPSAT 2B, is expected to provide high-resolution Earth observation data to the Korean government and private companies, improving South Korea’s capabilities in the space industry.

This is the second successful launch of the Naro-1. The first launch occurred in 2013, but failed due to a malfunctioning Russian-made engine. South Korea is now the 10th country to independently launch a space rocket, and is aiming to become more self-reliant in its space program.