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South Korea launches own spy satellite into orbit in response to North Korea

South Korea launches own spy satellite into orbit in response to North Korea South Korea launched a reconnaissance satellite into orbit (Photo: SpaceX Twitter)
Author: Daria Shekina

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a South Korean reconnaissance satellite was launched on Friday, December 1. This move is Seoul's response to North Korea's launch of a spy satellite last month, according to Bloomberg.

The Falcon 9 carrier rocket from SpaceX, with South Korea's first reconnaissance satellite, was launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 17:19 on Friday.

According to a representative of South Korea's defense procurement program, Seoul's satellite features a telescope with electro-optical sensors. The spacecraft can identify objects up to 30 centimeters in size with a resolution approximately 100 times better than that of North Korea.

South Korea views the deployment of its reconnaissance satellites as part of a security triad with the United States and Japan for preemptive strikes, missile interception, and conducting its own strikes to disable North Korea's military and command facilities.

Through a series of launches aimed at placing five reconnaissance satellites into orbit by 2025, Seoul seeks to strengthen its ability to independently gather intelligence, aiming for greater independence from the United States on this matter.

The recently launched South Korean satellite is expected to be much more powerful than North Korea's probe, which likely has a rudimentary optical system. Experts believe the North Korean satellite provides images with lower resolution than commercial satellites.

North Korea launched the spy satellite

In late May this year, North Korea attempted to put the Malligyong-1 spy satellite into orbit, but the carrier rocket fell into the Yellow Sea.

Later, on June 16, South Korea retrieved several parts of the rocket and satellite from the sea floor. After analyzing the recovered parts, experts stated that the satellite had no intelligence-gathering capabilities.

North Korea made a second attempt to launch the satellite on August 23. Tokyo stated that Pyongyang used banned ballistic missile technology, and the projectile flew through the airspace near Okinawa.

On November 22, North Korea announced a successful ballistic missile launch with a spy satellite on board. South Korea's intelligence agency reported that North Korea received assistance from Russia for the successful launch.