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Israel is Headed to Its Fifth Election; Countries Now Facing Famine; State Officials Testifies for January 6th Hearings; Monsoon Rain Causes Flooding in Bangladesh and India; Travelers Disrupted by Massive Protest; Russian Priest Doing Great Works for Ukrainians; South Korea Launches Nuri into Space; More Technology Advances Soon to be Used in Aeronautics. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 21, 2022 - 03:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to all of you joining us from around the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade live at the CNN center in Atlanta.

Just ahead, on CNN Newsroom, Israel's coalition collapses setting up another round of election. Could we see a possible Benjamin Netanyahu come back? We'll go live to Jerusalem.

And day five -- day four, rather, of the capitol riot hearings, this time former President Trump's efforts to overturn the elections are front and center.

And an entire town submerged underwater. Deadly flooding leaves millions of people displaced across South Asia.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Lynda Kinkade.

KINKADE: We begin this hour with a political shakeup in Israel. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and key coalition ally foreign minister Yair Lapid, have now agreed to submit a bill to dissolve parliament. That bill is expected to be submitted next week. It means Israel could soon be headed for its fifth election in under four years. And the move follows weeks of political uncertainty and after tense to destabilize the coalition failed.


NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Israeli citizens, we are standing before you today in a moment that is not easy. But with the understanding, we made the right decision for Israel.

YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): A word about what comes next, even if we are going to elections in a few months, the challenges we face will not wait. We need to tackle the cost of living, we leads the campaign against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah and stand against the forces threatening to turn Israel into a non-democratic country.


KINKADE: Well, journalist Elliott Gotkine joins us now from Jerusalem. Quite incredible, Elliott, that the Bennett government could be dissolved next week. And Israel could be headed for another election in its fifth election in three years.

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Yes, amazing to see that we're back in this election cycle, if you like, Lynda. Of course, we've had three inconclusive elections in quick succession. This government came about after a fourth election. And after former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been unable to win those three. We saw the most diverse array of parties, eight parties in total, including for the first time an Israeli Arab party getting together to form a government coalition.

Now it may have lasted longer than many people had expected. But it does show that unity only works up to a point. And it wasn't just divisions between the constituent parts of the governing coalition that ultimately led to its downfall. It was divisions within parties, especially Naftali Bennett the prime minister's own right wing Yamina Party which is seemingly been framing at the seams since day one.

And over the last couple of weeks or so has that fraying has kind of turned into a rapid unwinding. And that brings us now to the situation where the Knesset, the parliament is going to likely be dissolved. After which, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will as per the agreement with Naftali Bennett under their rotation agreement Yair Lapid will become the prime minister and will be the prime minister who host U.S. President Joe Biden when he comes to town next month.

Of course, what this also does is to provide an opening to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get his old job back, he's been plotting to undermine this government from day one. And according to the opinion polls he and his right-wing bloc could get as much as half the seats in the 120-seat Knesset but still fall short of the majority.

So, you know, even if we do go to this fifth election in under four years, there is no guarantee that they will be conclusive. Lynda?

KINKADE: It is quite incredible that Netanyahu despite facing some very serious corruption charges still seems to be quite popular as he plans this comeback, saying that he's going to return Israel to its former glory.

GOTKINE: Well, that's certainly what he says, he described this government, the current government as the worst in Israel's history. And despite or perhaps because of his corruption trials he has been determined to try to regain his job. Of course, he is already the longest serving prime minister in Israel's history. He wants his job back.

And there's some suggestion, I was speaking with a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. just the other week and he was suggesting that one of Netanyahu's priorities would be to get past a law and it is the French law, whereby a sitting prime minister wouldn't be able to face such charges.


So, certainly that is what some of Netanyahu's critics suggest that he wants to return to power in order to try to not have to deal with these corruption trials. But for now, you know, there's everything to play for, fresh elections look likely within a few months. Back to you.

KINKADE: All right, Elliott Gotkine for us back in Jerusalem. Our thanks to you. We will chat again soon, no doubt.

Well, it's been nearly four months since Russia invaded its neighbor but the war in Ukraine hasn't just devastated that country. It's also propelling a global food crisis that's only getting worse.

Right now, millions of tons of grain are trapped inside Ukraine due to Russian blockades on key ports. And that's putting millions at risk of food shortages or even famine, especially in Africa where many countries rely on both Russia and Ukraine for wheat imports.

On Monday, Ukraine's president addressed the issue with the African Union, telling leaders Russia is holding their nations hostage.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): If it wasn't for the Russian war, you would be in a completely different position now, completely safe. That is why in order to avoid famine, the efforts of states like Russia to return to their aggressive policy of colonialism must end. The time of empires is over. People have the right to just live, just live and have everything for life.


KINKADE: Well, for the second day in a row, Mr. Zelenskyy is urging Ukraine to brace for even more attacks from Russia as his country awaits a key decision on its E.U. bid.

CNN's David McKenzie is standing by for us in Johannesburg with more on that looming global food crisis. But first I want to go to our Salma Abdelaziz in Kyiv for the latest on the fighting. And Salma, the shelling certainly is intensifying in Kharkiv.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Lynda, all across that eastern front line Ukrainian forces are on the back foot, struggling to hold the line. But Ukrainian officials say still able to fight back at Russian positions where they have, of course, the advantage when it comes to weaponry, when it comes to artillery.

The main flash point right now is Severodonetsk, a city that's been under constant attack for two months that Russian forces predominantly control that city. Ukrainian troops have pulled back to fortified positions. There is potentially thousands of residents still trapped inside. And authorities are unable to get them out because of the fierceness of the fighting, but also because three bridges that connect Severodonetsk to its sister city are now impossible, too damaged by this fighting.

Indeed, the city itself most of its infrastructure is completely decimated, completely destroyed by this constant 24-hour a day artillery war. And again, we're hearing from Ukrainian officials just how much these losses on the frontline are impacting their ability to continue to fight this war, 100 to 200 soldiers dying on the front lines every single day.

And you mentioned Kharkiv of course to the north there. Ukrainian officials fear that Russian forces are trying to open another frontline. So that they can further stretch Ukraine's forces that are already extremely thin. And if Severodonetsk falls, and it seems almost inevitable that it will, Lynda, if it falls it's a victory for President Putin.

Of course, it's one of the last strongholds in the Luhansk region, and part of the wider Donbas and President Putin's goal, one of his goals in this conflict is to take full control of the Donbas region, so very worrying sign on the frontline. They are a war of attrition, both sides not strong enough to win right now in Severodonetsk but not weak enough to lose either, Lynda?

KINKADE: Right. All right, Salma, I want to go to David. Because President Zelenskyy said Africa has been taken hostage by Russia. This invasion obviously, meaning that grain is not leaving what many refer to as the breadbasket of the world.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, more than 25 million tons of grain, Lynda, out of Odessa and other ports in the Black Sea would normally be streaming out of Ukraine into countries all around the world, especially in Africa and both North Africa sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and parts of Central Africa.

As an example, Somalia, 90 percent of its imported wheat comes from Ukraine. And Russia, there's also the issue of sunflower oil which is being held back because of this conflict. As you saw there, President Zelenskyy is putting the blame on Russia, squarely trying to leverage political support from here on the African continent because of the impact that this grain blockade could have in the coming months.


Because officials from aid agencies and the Europe and other regions say, if this continues especially as farmers are now trying to harvest their current stock, and yet their previous stock is not exported this could lead to a cascading effect of rising prices, and eventually food shortages in countries which just cannot those shortages right now because it's already on top of high food prices.

So, as this conflict drags on, this could have a very devastating effect on global food security. Lynda?

KINKADE: And David, give us a sense of the reaction from African countries, are they sympathetic to the calls from President Zelenskyy?

MCKENZIE: Well, Africa is a diverse place with mainly different foreign policies. But I do think that you can draw the conclusion that Africa, in general, many countries are more ambivalent about this conflict, of course, more that the U.S., NATO and the European Union.

There is a long history with Russia and the Soviet Union. And that is playing into the politics of this moment despite the negative impact of this conflict on African countries. Putin for his part has repeatedly blamed the food crisis on Ukraine. He says this is because of sanctions from the E.U. That there is a shortage of food and he says the E.U. needs to lift those sanctions.

The head of the foreign policy unit at the European Union says it's basically Russia trying to blame everyone else for something it created. Take a listen.


JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Russia is blockading Ukrainian exports, Russia not us. Russia. Russia is destroying ports and destroying food stocks, destroying transport infrastructure. Russia! Not us.


MCKENZIE: Well, the reality is even as this blame game continues, that grain is sitting in silos in Ukraine not getting out of those who needed most. Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, that is the real challenge. David McKenzie for us in Johannesburg. Our Salma Abdelaziz in Kyiv, thanks very much.

Well, an election worker in the U.S. state of Georgia is expected to testify today about the death threats she and her mother received after Donald Trump accused them of election fraud. The January 6th committee will also hear from top election officials in Arizona and Georgia who resisted Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 vote. Brad Raffensperger will certainly be asked about his phone call from Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.


KINKADE: Well, I spoke to CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein about today's hearings. Here is what he stands out.


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What is striking is that the announced witnesses for tomorrow continue to be dominated by Republicans, right. That's been the story throughout. We are talking about the secretary of state in Georgia, the Speaker of the House in Arizona and other top election officials in Georgia continuing, what we saw with officials from the Vice President Pence's office, the former Republican appointed federal judge.

Clearly, this committee is trying to send a message to the voters in the Republican coalition. Voters in red America that there are serious disclosures and revelations here that they have to pay attention to and they're trying to do it with voices they may be somewhat more likely intrinsic with the trust.

KINKADE: Yes, and you mentioned that Georgia call. Obviously, that Georgia official --


KINKADE: And that now infamous call where Trump asked the official to find him 11,780 votes. Enough votes to win the state of Georgia.


KINKADE: Georgia, of course makes for the Democratic Party for the first time since 1992. Ron, what will you be listening for when he takes, when he starts to speak at the hearing?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first of all, you know, viewers have -- should remember that in addition to the committee investigation this, the Fulton County D.A., the county that centered on Atlanta has a grand jury that is investigating this. And there are many who think that that D.A. is more, is likely to act against former President Trump sooner than the Justice Department. That's something to keep an eye on.

Look, I think Raffensperger, first of all, it's striking that he's testifying at all. He just recently survived a primary challenge a few weeks ago against a Trump-backed election denier who is seeking the Republican nomination as secretary of state in Georgia. I'm not sure that he would be testifying in person that he was going into a runoff in that.

But you know, the fact that he is going to sit in front of the cameras makes me -- an in front of the committee, makes me think that he has strong things to say about the pressure that Trump put on him and his aides.


The aide Gabriel Sterling is also testifying. You may -- people may recall in 2020, he basically says that Trump is going to get someone hurt or killed with his allegations about fraud in Georgia. So, it will be striking to hear what he has to say as well.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Ron Brownstein there. And you can see the entire hearing, plus in-depth analysis right here on CNN starting at 1 p.m. in Washington, that's 6 p.m. in London and 1 a.m. in Hong Kong.

Well, deadly flooding is fueling a crisis in Bangladesh. People are running out of food, water and medicine. We'll have a live report from the region coming up.

Plus, Britain is facing a massive railway -- railway strike today.

CNN's Scott McLean is live in London.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Lynda, this is one of the busiest train stations in the entire United Kingdom today. Well, there is hardly anyone here. That is because the biggest railway strike in the last 30 years is disrupting commuting across the country. We'll tell you what the union wants right after the break.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Days of heavy rain have triggered flooding in parts of southern China, officials say almost half a million people have been impacted in Guandong province. Rivers are overflowing and homes are submerged. The weather forecast is expecting more rain over the coming day.

And in India and Bangladesh, millions have been affected by monsoon weather, officials say flooding has killed at least 84 people and some 300,000 others are said to be taking shelter in Bangladesh alone. The Bangladesh air force had to drop supplies by helicopter to people stranded in one of the worst affected parts of the country.

Well, we are covering all angles of the story. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is at the CNN center in Atlanta. And reporter Vedika Sud is in New Delhi.

Good have you both with us. So, Vedika, if I can start with you, the death toll is rising. Hundreds of thousands of people now sheltering in relief centers, they have lost their homes. But the impact extends much further.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Lynda. Millions have been displaced and remain stranded after flooding in several places in northeastern Bangladesh, and northeastern states of India. I want to start with Bangladesh.

You are talking about one of the worse city areas, well, that's Sylhet. This is in northeastern Bangladesh. I want to start with a video from there. You can see a young boy wading through floodwater. He can barely keep his head above the floodwater. He's got a metal jar in his hand, along with some other women riding on a boat.


They're all in search of drinking water. That's the shortage there along with food and medical supplies, Lynda. They are all looking for drinking water. You can see water all around, you can see homes submerged, you can see people trying to get to safer locations. Evacuations are underway, but what they really need at this point is drinking water and that's what they are in search of.

Now that is coming to them at least in some parts. Now Sylhet again is one area where the air force has been dropping food packages, as well as drinking water. The visuals coming in from the Bangladesh air force where you can see choppers that have been deployed for this very reason.

People are on terraces, they are on 2-story buildings trying to get hold of those packages, those water packets, and that's where they are as of now too. They are evacuated from the region. Now let's talk about Assam, it's a northeastern state in India.

Lynda, this state sees floods every year, nothing has really changed. It's only getting worse year by year. Now, we have visuals from there as well. The human impact is so visible. It's so evident when it comes to infants, children, or the elderly. You have the rescue teams deployed in the area. They are trying to evacuate as many people as possible.

A lot of these boats are being used on the floodwater to get them out and get them to safer ground. Now here is where the concern lies. We have spoken to environmentalist, we've spoken to leading environmentalists here in India, Sunita Narain, who warn and talks of the direct connection between these extreme weather events and climate change.


SUNITA NARAIN, DIRECTOR GENERAL, CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT: So, it is a very clear that with climate change this region is going to see extreme rainfall. And already in Bangladesh and in the northeast, you are seeing that impact. That the region has gone from water scarcity to flood in one, in one goal, and that is the impact of climate change. This devastating flood is clearly linked to the changes that we are seeing in the world.


SUD: And that is a warning sign for the Indian government, for the Bangladeshi government, there has to be action taken on the ground short and long term, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, it certainly does. Vedika Sud, our thanks to you. I want to go to Pedram.

Just -- Pedram, if you can explain some context for us about how bad this flooding is historically speaking, and when can people expect some relief?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: When we think of it right now, Lynda, when it comes to the monsoon season the intensity of the rainfall has been incredible across this region. And we expect some heavy rainfall certainly at this time of year, but the amount of it that has come down in some cases is equivalent to what say, London would see in a span of say, 15, 18 months that they've seen in just 24 hours in this region.

We are talking 1,000 millimeters of so rainfall in portions of Bangladesh in a span of says 24 hours that, again, happen typically over the course of a year in other parts of the world that are known to be soggy.

But notice, the monsoonal moisture prevalent across this region and it's going to be the case for at least the next 7 to 10 days as the intensity really ramps up. And some of the images here we've kind of touched on this as a child collecting some food from the army, and in neck or waist deep in water here.

And when you look at this sort of scenarios, I often warn people the contaminants associated with such waters, infectious diseases that could certainly spread, the aggressive insects, the wildlife, so many times in flooding scenarios I've seen reports of people being more injured by this element just getting into these waters without knowing what's beneath the surface.

But of course, when you have little choice, that is what you're left to do. But the monsoon is also in full swing across portions of Eastern Asia. We know the tremendous impacts across this region also impressive, Lynda, with rainfall amounts just in the past 45 days that are equivalent to what all of 2021 brought across this region. So, again, speaks to how intense the rains have been in recent weeks.

KINKADE: Yes. Record-breaking, just incredible. Pedram Javaheri, our thanks to you at the weather center. Thanks also to Vedika Sud.

Well, flights were returning to normal now after several days of widespread delays and cancellations. Tracking service FlightAware says that as of Monday night more than 17,000 flights were delayed and hundreds canceled. Airlines and airports are struggling with a shortage of staff forcing them to cut the number of flights they can schedule.

The strain is caused problems that some of the busiest airports in the -- recent weeks. The CEO of United Airlines is calling on the U.S. government to help the industry get back on track in the wake of the pandemic.


SCOTT KIRBY, CEO, UNITED AIRLINES: Our focus in the next few years needs in months and years -- is to build a resilient system that can handle these increases in demand, that has a margin of error. Airlines can't do that alone. In fact, we almost need the governments more than we need ourselves to help.



KINKADE: Well, Heathrow airport is apologizing after a technical glitch threw its baggage system into disarray over the weekend leading to this sea of backlog baggage. What a nightmare.

Well, Britain is bracing for its largest rail strike in decades, tens of thousands of rail workers are said to walk out in the coming hours over pay and job cuts. The strike is poised to cause severe disruptions across the region. Well, CNN's Scott McLean is in London right now covering all of this

for us. So, this is meant to be such a massive strike, Scott, the biggest we've seen in some 30 years. Just give us a sense of what you are seeing there, what sort of impact is it having?

MCLEAN: Yes, so the walkout, Lynda, has begun already, and as you say the biggest rail strike in the last 30 years. In some ways it reminds of the height of the COVID pandemic. This is London Bridge station, Central London, one of the biggest stations in the entire country. And there is hardly anybody here.

Normally this is a hive of activity as people come and go, trains are leaving, literally every couple of minutes or even less than that. Now you have the rail strikes affecting people in England, Scotland, and Wales, and also the London underground which is important considering this is a city where most people don't actually own a car.

So, if you look up here at the departures board, you can see there are trains leaving every couple minutes. Normally, they lead from each individual platform every couple of minutes. So, they estimate maybe only 10 or 20 percent of the trains are actually moving.

And you can see the station is really deserted. The reason that there are any trains running at all at this point is because in the U.K., workers are not actually required to join the union, and so some people are still showing up for work today and doing their jobs, which is why any trains are running at all.

And you can see there is a small group of picketers here at this entrance. There are others at other entrances to the station and really people are set up across the country to try to make their viewpoint known.

The strike will take place today, Thursday, and Saturday. And some union bosses are warning though that this could go on for months and months. They want, the union wants wages to keep up with inflation, the problem though, Lynda, is that inflation right now is 7 percent forecast to get even worse, perhaps 10 percent.

And so, the government says that considering not as many people are riding the trains compared to pre-COVID, well, things need to change. And it's not realistic to keep up with inflation. They also don't want a big public sector contract to actually make the inflation problem even worse than it actually is, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, big challenges there, and certainly a lot of pain for anyone trying to travel around the U.K. in the coming days. Scott McLean for us in London, thanks very much.

Well, after getting pushed back a week, South Korea launches the new space rocket yet again. Will the new launch help propel the country's space program to new heights? We'll discuss.

Also ahead, we'll meet a Russian priest who defies the Kremlin and give shelter to Ukrainians desperately fleeing the war.



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us.

Well, more now on the war in Ukraine. And U.N. data showing that more than two and a half million Ukrainian refugees are in Europe. Ninety percent of them are women and children.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has the story of a Russian priest who's become a lifeline for many of those refugees hoping to reach the E.U.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The church, a single bear room in a former factory in Saint Petersburg. But Reverend Gregory Mikhanov-Vytenko's tiny parish is a humanitarian powerhouse. He's helped scores of Ukrainians displaced by what Moscow calls its special military operation get to the European union.

GREGORY MIKHANOV-VYTENKO, RUSSIAN PRIEST: There are thousands, thousands of people because every day, every day few hundred people go.

PLEITGEN: Most of the Ukrainians sheltering in this hostel in Saint Petersburg are from Mariupol, a city almost completely destroyed by artillery, airstrikes, and urban combat. On March 9th, the city's maternity clinic was hit, and now infamous incident that killed four people and wounded scores including Victorya Shiskina (Ph) who lost her unborn baby.

"They did a caesarean operation, there was panic everywhere, but they said they have to save me," she says. "They saw that the child had no more vital signs, they tried to pull him out, and reanimate him but the explosion hit me right in the belly, and they couldn't save him."

A double tragedy as her husband Vladimir was also hit by shelling as he was trying to visit Victorya (Ph), killing a friend walking with him.

"I heard a loud ring in my ears, I thought to myself, I'm dead too," he says. "But I looked down my leg, and my kneecap had been torn off, I crawled to a fence, and screamed help, help."

Vladimir's leg later had to be amputated. Thanks to Reverend Gregory and his network of volunteers they made it to Saint Petersburg where like so many, they stay free of charge at this hostel waiting to leave Russia.

Ukraine has accused Russia of targeting civilians in Mariupol, Russia denies those claims and instead blamed Ukraine. Vogdan Stanchenko (Ph) and his family also escaped Mariupol, they live near the Mariupol drama theater which was bombed in mid-March, reportedly killing hundreds though the exact number remains unknown.

As his neighborhood was being flatten, Vogdan took his wife, his son, and his eight-month-old baby girl, Kyra, and fled, ending up in southwestern Russia. Like everyone else here, they want to get to the European Union.

MIKHANOV-VYTENKO: Very many people.

PLEITGEN: Reverend Gregory says Russia does not prevent Ukrainians from leaving the country. But due to a lack of information some end up in remote regions of this massive country.

MIKHANOV-VYTENKO: They have no information, this is the main problem, they have no information and what they can do, and what is possible to do, where they can go.

PLEITGEN: The cost of moving so many Ukrainians, some severely wounded to the E.U. are massive. Reverend Gregory relies on donations, mostly by Russian hospitals, companies, business people and ordinary citizens some opposed to what Russia calls the special military operation but afraid to speak out.

Reverend Gregory left the Russian Orthodox Church in 2014, its head patriarch, Kirill, is a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and supporter of the special military operation.

MIKHANOV-VYTENKO: For me, it was not possible to stay there when they have military church.

PLEITGEN: Reverend Gregory says he doesn't fear speaking openly about his opposition to Russia's actions in Ukraine, he only fears God. As he sees Victorya and Vladimir off, they've gotten the go to head to Germany where Vladimir is set to receive a prosthetic limb, a bit nervous but also grateful for the chance to start a new life, thanks to the help of Reverend Gregory and his band of supporters.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Saint Petersburg, Russia.


KINKADE: Well, Russian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dmitry Muratov put his price medal off for auction to support children displaced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It's sold for more than $103 million which will go directly to UNICEF.


Muratov is the editor of the newspaper critical of the Kremlin and won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Filipino journalist Maria Ressa.

We are going to take a short break. We'll be right back.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, South Korea's Nuri rocket just launched on its second mission into space. The craft had its first successful launch last October but failed in its overall mission of placing a dummy satellite into the earth's orbit. But the dummy satellite and other research satellites on board, there's still time for this mission to be a success. Well, CNN's Blake Essig joins me now from Tokyo with more on all of

this. Good to see you, Blake. So, this is the second attempt, eight months after the first try. How are things looking?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Lynda, so far and so good. And space travel, you know, putting a rocket into outer space is difficult. And after a failure of weather delay in last minute technical glitch, today was a turning point for South Korea's space program after successfully so far launching its first homegrown rocket into outer space.

And it happened about 35 minutes ago, making South Korea now the seventh country, including the United States and Japan to have developed a space launch vehicle capable of carrying more than one ton satellite.

Now the goal of today's launch was to put satellites into low orbit at about 700 kilometers into the air at the right speed, and then to see if the performance vehicle, excuse me, verification satellite function properly. And everything, as I mentioned, has so far been successful. And we should get confirmation about the performance verification in about 10 to 30 minutes.

Now, this domestically produced rocket is called Nuri and was top with five satellites, four that will carry out earth monitoring missions for the next 6 to 24 months. And one of those satellites is a 1.3-ton dummy satellite to be put into orbit. Now since 2010 South Korea has invested nearly two trillion, one about -- one and a half billion dollars on this program using its own design in technology that officials with the Korean Aerospace Research Institute say will open the door to a range of future satellite missions and allow the country more autonomy in its space observation. Lynda?

KINKADE: And this, obviously as you mentioned is a Korean technology, domestically produced. What are the plans during the work to collaborate with other space programs?

ESSIG: Well, you know, just recently, President Biden and new South Korean president, Yoon Seok-youl, you know, talked about combining, you know, information regarding their space program.


And obviously, with North Korea continuing to launch missiles and the possibility for a nuclear weapons test, you know, this satellite -- you know, satellite set that South Korea is going to be able to put up into space might also serve to deter some of what North Korea is doing.

So, there's a lot of possibilities with the developments here in South Korea's space program, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly sounds that way. Blake Essig for us in Tokyo. Our thanks to you.

Well, all this week, our series mission ahead introduces us to entrepreneurs and scientists on a mission to rethink the way we move and even how we get things into space. Well, for six decades people have sent satellites into orbit on rockets.

But CNN's Rachel Crane reports on a company working to develop a radical alternative.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION & SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Over the years, inventors and scientists have envisioned some wild ideas to send things to space. Laser- powered launches, a magnetic levitation tube even a space elevator. A giant sling shot might sound like another one. But according to the entrepreneur behind the technology, so is the way we already put objects into orbit.

JONATHAN YANEY, FOUNDER & CEO, SPINLAUNCH: Rockets are the most complex systems ever built, as a means of transportation, they are actually incredibly illogical.

CRANE: This is Jonathan Yaney.

YANEY: I want to space camp as a kid. I flew an airplane by myself for the first time when I was 14. And so, yes, I just -- I just took a look at it and said, well, what if, what if there was a different way? Why if we could absolutely dramatically transform the way we access space.

CRANE: To answer that question, Yaney founded SpinLaunch in 2014, hired a team of engineers like David Ren (Ph).

UNKNOWN: We are going to be doing a launch of a one-meter projectile.

CRANE: And built this prototype.

UNKNOWN: So, this is like the same amount of power that you had in minivan.

CRANE: Right now, SpinLaunch is running its test here. And in a larger launch system in New Mexico.

But today's projectile is only launching a few meters. In this controlled environment, the ultimate goal, load a satellite on to the projectile, spin it faster than the speed of sound and catapult it out of the earth's atmosphere where rocket engine kicks into carry the payload to its final destination.

But to actually reach orbit the accelerator will need to spin about 17 times faster than SpinLaunch has demonstrated so far and be three times larger. And that's just one of the technological hurdles the company faces, experts say.

JUAN A. ALONSO, PROFESSOR, AERONAUTICS & ASTRONAUTICS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: You have to make sure that the vehicle is stable and that flies the trajectory that it's supposed to fly, that the payload sustained a very heavy loading or G environment that occurs during the spin up phase. And finally, that the second stage rocket actually ignites properly and sends things to orbit. CRANE: SpinLaunch is seeking a location for a full-scale accelerator

which it hopes can overcome these challenges and power the company to orbit by 2025. If successful, the rewards could be worth the wait. The system will use 74 percent less fuel and materials than conventional rockets, SpinLaunch says, making a greener to get objects to space. And up to ten times cheaper. Even if it works, it won't be able to launch everything.

YANEY: This launch has been only flying satellites about the size of a washing machine. So, you know, we're not talking about flying the Hubble Space Telescope or really any delicate instruments like that.

CRANE: Let alone humans. They could never withstand the G forces of your system.

YANEY: We're not going to fly human payloads in SpinLaunch anytime soon.

CRANE: Small satellites may well be enough to keep SpinLaunch busy. The market will be worth around $7.4 billion by 2026 by some estimates. And Yaney expects demand for fast launches to grow as humans venture further. And as Yaney sees it, it will take some wild ideas to get there.


KINKADE: Well, thanks so much for joining me. I'm Lynda Kinkade. African Voices Changemakers is coming up next.