Science & Tech

SpaceX launches South Korea’s second spy satellite amid rivalry with North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced Monday that the country’s second domestically produced spy satellite has been placed in orbit following its launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The launch occurred at 2317 GMT on Sunday, and the satellite separated from the Falcon 9 rocket approximately 45 minutes later, successfully entering its designated orbit, according to a ministry statement.

Equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), the satellite is capable of capturing images in any weather condition, a feature attributed to its advanced data processing capabilities.

This launch is part of South Korea’s efforts to enhance its military capabilities in space, a move that comes amid growing competition with North Korea.

Following two failed attempts that resulted in rocket crashes, North Korea announced in November that its Chollima-1 launch vehicle successfully deployed the Malligyong-1 reconnaissance satellite into orbit. North Korea has also declared its intention to launch three additional spy satellites in 2024.