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South Korea Plans Launch of its Second Spy Satellite.

| Defense News Army 2024

South Korea is preparing to deploy its second military satellite in early April, as announced by the Ministry of Defense on Monday, March 25, 2024. This initiative is part of an ambitious project aiming to orbit a total of five surveillance satellites to enhance the monitoring of North Korea.
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The first satellite in this series was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from a military base in California. (Picture source: SpaceX)

The first satellite in this series was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from a military base in California, USA, in December of the previous year. The next satellite is scheduled to be launched from a military installation in Florida, USA, marking an important step towards South Korea's goal of having five spy satellites in operation by 2025.

Jeon Ha-kyu, a spokesperson for the ministry, indicated during a press briefing that final discussions with the satellite contractors were ongoing, with a launch planned for early April, although a specific date was not disclosed.

The first of these satellites, launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on December 1, 2023, was equipped with electro-optical and infrared sensors capable of capturing high-resolution images of the Earth's surface. The following satellites will be equipped with synthetic aperture radar technology, which allows for data collection in all weather conditions through remote sensing systems.

This advancement comes as North Korea also makes progress in its space-based surveillance capabilities. Pyongyang successfully orbited its first military spy satellite in November of the previous year and has announced its intention to launch three more spy satellites this year.

However, tensions between North Korea and South Korea have also risen recently due to several key events. North Korea threatened an immediate military strike against South Korea in response to any "provocation," following artillery exercises near their border. This threat was expressed by Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, as Pyongyang launched artillery shells near the South Korean border for the third consecutive day.

In response to these actions, North Korea thus fired more than 200 artillery shells toward two South Korean islands, leading to evacuations. Seoul condemned these firings as an act of provocation that exacerbates tensions and threatens peace on the Korean peninsula. Another incident involving the sending of five North Korean drones across South Korean territory exacerbated these tensions, prompting South Korea to immediately respond by deploying fighter jets and attack helicopters to shoot them down.

Last week, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik emphasized that North Korea seems to be preparing for its second launch of a spy satellite, potentially planned for the end of March. Therefore, the situation on the Korean peninsula is to be monitored closely.


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