South Korea describes launch of its first reconnaissance satellite as success

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the country has successfully launched a reconnaissance satellite atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The first ever spy satellite to be launched by South Korea achieved its designated orbit and was able to communicate with a ground station, the ministry said.

The satellite separated from the rocket 14 minutes after the liftoff on December 2, and established communication with the ground station 78 minutes after blasting off atop the rocket, according to the ministry.

"With the successful launch of the first military reconnaissance satellite, the military has secured independent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities," the ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, the satellite will be a cornerstone for enhancing the capabilities of the South Korean Kill Chain deterrence system. Kill Chain is a system aimed at enabling a preemptive strike on the sites of the enemy’s missile and nuclear forces.

South Korea’s military is also developing a satellite-based early warning system. The military said it will continue to build up its surveillance capabilities to gain an overwhelming advantage in the competition with North Korea.

North Korea successfully put its first reconnaissance satellite into orbit on November 21 following two failed attempts in May and August.

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