South Korea affirms its space ambitions against Pyongyang – L’Express

South Korea affirms its space ambitions against Pyongyang – LExpress

The event reflects an intensification of the space race on the Korean peninsula. South Korea announced this Monday, April 8, that it had placed a second military spy satellite in orbit.

This satellite, manufactured on its territory and carried on a Space “Our army’s second reconnaissance satellite successfully separated from the launch vehicle at around 09:02 (00:02 GMT) and entered the target orbit,” he said. It “successfully established contact with an overseas ground station at approximately 10:57 (0157 GMT),” it added.

According to the South Korean military, the country’s “independent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities have been strengthened” by this successful launch. It now intends to “carry out new launches”.

READ ALSO: Why the West has not said its last word against Putin and Xi Jinping

In December, South Korea confirmed the successful launch of its first military spy satellite, also carried by a Falcon 9 rocket from Space X, Elon Musk’s company, which took off from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Race for military space capabilities

Seoul’s defense minister said he was closely monitoring possible satellite launches by North Korea, which were initially planned for March. “It seems that they are making additional arrangements,” Minister Shin Won-sik said on Monday, considering an April 15 launch by Pyongyang likely.

The date marks the birth anniversary of North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il Sung and is usually celebrated with major weapons tests or military parades. North Korea announced in November last year that it had launched its first spy satellite.

READ ALSO: North Korea: Malligyong-1, the spy satellite that worries Seoul

Seoul’s first satellite has transmitted high-resolution images of central Pyongyang to authorities and its main mission is expected to begin in June, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. South Korea plans to launch a total of five spy devices by 2025 to better monitor the North. Once the satellites, having entered orbit, have begun their mission, the South Korean army will be able to spy on key infrastructure in North Korea approximately every two hours, detailed the public channel KTV.

For its part, North Korea claimed that its own satellite was in orbit and that it had sent images of the American base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as well as “major targets” in South Korea. Pyongyang managed to send its “Malligyong-1” device into space after two failures in May and August 2023. According to Seoul, the North received help from Russia in exchange for arms deliveries for the war led by Moscow in Ukraine. Experts believe that this successful operation will allow North Korean intelligence to improve the collection of information on South Korea in particular, and to have crucial data on any conflict.