North Korea entered an elite club of Space Nations.
On December 12, 2012 at 00:49 UTC North Korea launched the "Unha-3” three-stage rocket-carrier from Sohae Satellite Launching Station (also known as Tongch'ang-dong Space Launch Center and Pongdong-ri) in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. The rocket orbited the "Kwangmyongsong-3” satellite. North Korea joined a small group of countries with the ability to build and launch their own satellites into orbit. The former Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1, in October 1957. The United States followed with the successful launch of Explorer 1 in January 1958. France, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, India and Israel later flew their own space launchers. Iran joined the space launch club in 2009 and was the newest member before North Korea's historic launch.