North Korea Says it’s Set to Launch its First Military Spy Satellite

Image: Korean Central News Agency

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.

Related Stories

Korea Tensions Move to Space

North and South Korea are using space as a vantage point to keep an eye on one another. On Nov. 21, North Korea successfully launched a military spy satellite to orbit on its third try, sparking international concern and escalating tension in the region. Now officials say that the satellite is up and running, collecting […]


North Korea Says It Successfully Launched Spy Sat

North Korea claimed on Wednesday that it successfully placed its first spy satellite in orbit, drawing a rebuke from the White House. 


Ursa Major Unveils SRM Business With Lynx

Space propulsion startup Ursa Major is getting into the solid rocket motor game.


GOP Concerns About China-Russia Military Space Cooperation

Russia is seeking more cooperation with China on military space weapons—and some members of Congress are already speaking out about the proposed partnership.