South Korea launches first military spy satellite

Immediately following Pyongyang’s launch of its very own first surveillance satellite a week ago, South Korea’s first military spy satellite was successfully launched by a rocket from SpaceX, further increasing the space competition on the peninsula.

At 10:19 a.m. local time on Friday, the reconnaissance satellite from Seoul, which was being carried by one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, took off from the Vandenberg United States Space Force Base in California.

On the rocket, the word “KOREA” was written in large letters over its surface.

In a short amount of time after that, the Yohnap news agency stated that the satellite had successfully reached orbit.

“The Falcon 9 lifted off at 10.19am and sent the reconnaissance satellite into orbit approximately four minutes after the launch,” Yonhap stated, citing South Korea’s defense ministry as the source of the information.

By reaching orbit, South Korea would have obtained its first spy satellite that was constructed domestically, which would allow it to watch North Korea, which is armed with nuclear weapons.

As part of its efforts to strengthen its capacity for reconnaissance over the North, Seoul intends to launch four additional spy satellites by the end of the year 2025.

According to Yonhap, Seoul’s satellite is capable of detecting an item as small as 30 centimeters in size. It is scheduled to orbit between 400 and 600 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.

According to Yonhap, an official from the Ministry of Defense gave the following statement: “Taking into account its resolution and its capability for Earth observation, our satellite technology ranks among the top five that are available worldwide.”

A little over two weeks have passed since Pyongyang successfully launched its own spy satellite into orbit, and now the launch has taken place.

Choi Gi-il, a professor in military studies at the Sangji University, stated that South Korea has relied significantly on spy satellites that are operated by the United States up to this point in order to monitor the North Korean government.

In spite of the fact that the South had been successful in launching a military communications satellite, he stated that the launch of a reconnaissance satellite had taken far longer due to the technological obstacles that were more difficult to overcome.

Following the successful launch of the North Korean government’s own spy satellite, Choi stated that “the South Korean government needs to demonstrate that it is also capable of accomplishing this.”

The deployment of a functional reconnaissance satellite into orbit, according to the opinions of various experts, would enhance North Korea’s capacity for gathering intelligence, notably over South Korea, and would supply essential data in the event of any armed conflict at any time.

Since its debut the previous week, the North Korean government has asserted that its new “eye in the sky” has already captured images of significant military installations in the United States and South Korea, in addition to photographs of Rome, the capital of Italy.

It is not yet known whether any of the satellite imagery that it claims to possess has been disclosed.

The launch of “Malligyong-1” by the North Korean government was Pyongyang’s third effort at getting a satellite of this kind into orbit, following two unsuccessful attempts in May and August.

It has been reported by Seoul that Moscow provided the North with technical assistance in exchange for the North sending weaponry that Russia could employ in its conflict with Ukraine.

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