South Korea has launched its first homemade rocket, a significant step forward in the country’s space ambitions.
Nuri, the Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle II, launched from Goheung, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) south of Seoul.
The vehicle completed its full flight sequence, but failed to place a dummy satellite in orbit, according to President Moon Jae-in.
Such launches are necessary for a space programme, but they might also be used for military purposes.
South Korea and North Korea are involved in an arms race, with both recently test-firing new weapons. In 2012, the North launched a satellite into orbit.
Nuri is reported to have cost South Korea 2 trillion won (£1.23 billion or $1.6 billion) to create. It has six liquid-fueled engines and weighs 200 tonnes and is 47.2 metres in length.
President Moon acknowledged that the launch fell short of their expectations, but stated, “It’s not long before we’ll be able to launch it exactly into the target trajectory,” according to the Reuters news agency.
According to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), which is managing the launch, South Korea wants to launch the Nuri four more times until 2027 to boost reliability.
While South Korea is regarded as a scientific powerhouse, it has trailed behind other nations in space exploration progress.
Attempts to launch a rocket by Seoul in 2009 and 2010 both failed, with the second exploding minutes after take-off.
By 2030, South Korea plans to launch a probe to the moon.