South Korea’s first domestically built space rocket blasted off on Thursday but failed to fully place a dummy satellite into orbit, delivering mixed results for a test launch that represents a major leap for the country’s ambitious space plans.

The three-stage KSLV-II Nuri rocket, emblazoned with the national flag, rose on a column of flame from its launch pad at Naro Space Center at 5 p.m. (0800 GMT).

President Moon Jae-in, who watched the launch from the space centre, said the rocket completed its flight sequences but failed to place the test payload into orbit.

Moon praised the workers and said despite the incomplete mission, the project would press ahead.

The Nuri, or “world”, rocket is designed to put 1.5-tonne payloads into orbit 600 to 800 km above Earth, as part of a broader space effort that envisages the launch of satellites for surveillance, navigation communications and even lunar probes.