North Korea’s military is getting ready to expand to orbit with the launch of its first spy satellite, leader Kim Jong Un announced Wednesday, according to an AP report.
North Korea in space: The Hermit Kingdom has previously launched three non-military satellites to orbit: one experimental comms satellite in 2009 and two EO satellites in 2012 and 2016. The upcoming launch will be the first time it sends spy birds to space.
The reconnaissance sats will likely be used to identify South Korean targets and track US military operations in the region. Kim did not announce a launch date.
The plan to launch military satellite equipment comes during a time of high tensions in the region.
- The US and South Korea continue to conduct military exercises in the region, much to the chagrin of North Korea.
- The Space Force recently established a unit solely focused on the Korean peninsula.
Kim’s military: Spy satellites are just one of several new military capabilities North Korea is developing. Last week, Kim announced the country had tested a new solid-fuel ICBM that could be used for rapid military deployment during wartime.
While North Korea ventures into the military satellite domain, the US is investing billions of dollars in its SDA missile defense constellation. The constellation will play a crucial role in detecting and tracking any potential threats emanating from North Korea.