South Korea said on Tuesday it had successfully launched its homegrown space rocket and placed a payload into orbit in a “giant leap” for the country’s quest to become an advanced space-faring nation. Reuters reports that the Korea Satellite Launch Vehicle II, nicknamed Nuri and emblazoned with the South Korean flag, lifted off at 16:00 (07:00 GMT) from the launch site in Goheung on the southern coast, trailing a column of flame. South Korea’s space programme “has taken a giant leap forward”, said Lee Jong-ho, minister of science and technology, adding he declared the mission a success.