Payam Javan: South Korea is set to launch its first domestically built spy satellite at the end of this month, aimed at enhancing surveillance of North Korea’s nuclear activities.
The plan comes after North Korea faced technical issues in its attempt to launch a reconnaissance satellite in October. The South Korean military spy satellite will be launched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on Nov. 30, using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
This marks South Korea’s move towards an independent space-based surveillance system, strengthening its defense capabilities against North Korea. The country plans to launch four more spy satellites by 2025 under a contract with SpaceX.
While the United States operates higher-resolution spy satellites, South Korea seeks autonomy in its surveillance objectives. North Korea’s recent failures in satellite launches have raised suspicions of Russian technological assistance, with South Korea retrieving debris from a crude satellite in May. Despite setbacks, North Korea aims to bolster its weapons capabilities, including spy satellites, as part of leader Kim Jong Un’s ambitious arms build-up plans announced in 2021.