South Korea’s first military satellite launched

South Korea’s first military satellite launched

Agence France-Presse

South Korea’s first military communications satellite has been successfully launched by private operator SpaceX, Seoul said in late July 2020, as it looks to build up its defense capabilities.

The ANASIS-II is intended to enhance the nation’s ability to defend itself against nuclear-armed North Korea, which invaded the South in 1950.

A Falcon 9 rocket, pictured, carrying the satellite blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a statement.

SpaceX confirmed the deployment about 32 minutes after liftoff July 20, 2020.

DAPA said the launch made South Korea the 10th country in the world to own a military-only communications satellite, which will provide “permanent and secured military communications.”

The satellite is expected to reach its orbit of 36,000 kilometers in two weeks, and South Korea’s military will take over the system in October 2020 after testing.

South Korea and the United States are security allies, and 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in the South. Seoul is looking to enhance its military capabilities as it develops a complementary, comprehensive alliance with the U.S.

The satellite is “expected to improve the South Korean military’s independent operational capabilities,” a Defense Ministry official told Yonhap News Agency.