Private company SpaceX launched South Korea’s first military satellite from Cape Canaveral space center in Florida, the South Korean Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. It is a Falcon 9 rocket that carried the ANASIS-II satellite, the ministry said in a statement. SpaceX confirmed that the satellite had deployed 32 minutes after takeoff Monday afternoon in local time.
The Administration of Acquisition Programs of the South Korean Ministry of Defense (Dapa) said that South Korea became the tenth country in the world to have an exclusively military communications satellite, which will allow its army to have ” permanent and secure military satellite communications ”. The satellite should reach its orbit at 36,000 kilometers in two weeks and the South Korean army will take control in October after a testing phase.
Seoul is seeking to develop its military capabilities with a view to a transfer of wartime control of its armed forces, currently held by the United States. Washington is stationing 28,500 troops in the South to deal with the North Korean threat. The Korean War ended in 1953 in an armistice, but no peace treaty was made, so the two neighbors are still technically at war.