The spy satellite was sent into space from the US state of California on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch can be followed via images from the space company. SpaceX stopped this broadcast shortly after launch, without showing images of the payload in space.
The satellite must now enter the correct orbit around Earth, but it is not yet clear whether this has succeeded or will succeed. Once operational, the plane must monitor the activities of the communist northern neighbors. According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, the space machine can detect an object no larger than 30 centimetres. Seoul plans to launch four additional satellites by the end of 2025.
To monitor North Korea’s (military) activities – the regime there also possesses nuclear weapons – South Korea has so far relied on US spy satellites. Two previous attempts by North Korea to launch such a satellite had failed. According to Seoul, North Korea has now received technical assistance from Russia.
Tensions between North and South Korea have been rising for some time. Many countries condemned North Korea’s missile launch last week at the international level. The United Nations also expressed its dissatisfaction, because it contradicts previous embargo decisions and agreements. The military treaty between North and South Korea has been temporarily suspended.
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