South Korea set to launch second military spy satellite in the US

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

South Korea will launch its second domestically made military spy satellite in the United States next week, Seoul’s defense ministry confirmed Friday, in its latest move to better counter nuclear-armed North Korea.

The announcement comes after Seoul in December confirmed the successful launch of its first military spy satellite, which was carried by one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The latest developments intensify a space race on the Korean peninsula after the North launched its own first military eye in the sky in November last year.

Local reports saying the launch is scheduled on April 7 in the US are “correct”, a spokesperson for Seoul’s defense ministry told AFP Friday, adding more details will be shared next week.

Seoul’s second spy satellite is set to lift off from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, also on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

Its first satellite has transmitted high-resolution images of central Pyongyang to the authorities in Seoul and is expected to commence its full mission stages as early as June, according to Seoul’s Yonhap news agency.

Seoul plans to launch a total of five spy military satellites by 2025 to better monitor the North.

Once all five satellites enter orbit and commence their mission, the South Korean military will have the capability to monitor key facilities in North Korea using imagery sent around every two hours, according to a report by Seoul’s government-run broadcaster KTV.

North Korea, meanwhile, has claimed its spy satellite in orbit has sent images of a US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and “major target” sites across South Korea.

The North’s successful launch of the “Malligyong-1” was Pyongyang’s third attempt at putting such a satellite in orbit, after two failures in May and August last year.

Seoul has said the North received technical help from Moscow for the launch, in return for supplying weapons for use in Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Experts have said putting a working reconnaissance satellite into orbit would improve North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly over South Korea, and provide crucial data in any military conflict.

So far this year, Pyongyang has declared South Korea its “principal enemy”, jettisoned agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach, and threatened war over “even 0.001 mm” of territorial infringement.

Read more:

North Korea says it test-fired new solid-fuel hypersonic missile

North Korea fires medium-range ballistic missile: South Korea

Top Content Trending