South Korea's domestically made space rocket delivered a commercial grade satellite into orbit for the first time on Thursday, the country's science minister said, a breakthrough in its ambitions to compete in a space race with its Asian neighbors.

The Nuri rocket lifted off from Naro Space Center on the southern coast of South Korea at 6:24 p.m. in its third flight after technical glitches caused the launch to be cancelled a day earlier.

Among eight satellites aboard the rocket, the main commercial-grade satellite made contact with a base station in Antarctica after successfully separating from the space vehicle, Science Minister Lee Jong-ho said.