South Korea launched its first military spy satellite into space Friday, a little over a week after North Korea claimed to put its own spy satellite into orbit for the first time as tensions rise between the rivals.
Launched from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, it was the first of five spy satellites South Korea plans to send into space by 2025 under a contract with SpaceX. The event had been scheduled for earlier in the week but was pushed back because of weather conditions.
South Korea had no military reconnaissance satellites of its own in space and has partially resorted to the United States’ spy satellites to monitor moves by North Korea.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry described the launch as successful, saying the satellite had a communication with an overseas ground station.