South Korea joins ranks of 'satellite powers' with rocket launch

A Korean Space Launch Vehicle 1 rocket, also called Naro, launches into orbit from South Korea's Naro Space Center …
Just seven weeks after its neighbour to the north launched something into orbit — a something that is apparently tumbling out of control — South Korea successfully launched its own observational satellite into space earlier today.

This launch comes in the middle of high tensions on the Korean Peninsula, just days after North Korea threatened action against South Korea if they participated in new UN sanctions. These new sanctions were put into place because of North Korea's own satellite launch back in December — an act that has been publicly condemned by numerous countries around the world, Canada included.

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Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said at the time that North Korea's launch "clearly demonstrate its willful defiance of its international obligations" and, according to the National Post, went on to say that "the regime had once again shown total disregard for its people by choosing to fund military and nuclear programs while the basic needs of the population go unmet."

Although North Korean officials state that their launch was only a weather satellite, with entirely peaceful intentions, many nations are suspicious that this was simply another test of missile technology that could deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States — whom North Korea considers to be their 'arch-enemy'.

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The international community is expecting an angry response from Pyongyang about South Korea's success, but for now, South Korea can feel proud of its achievement and secure that their launch is not only supported, but welcomed by the "ranks of satellite powers", as one Seoul office-worker put it.

(Photo courtesy: Yonhap/AFP/Getty Images)

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