S. Korea discloses military project to establish fleet of ultra-small spy satellites

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : September 10, 2021, 15:47 | Updated : September 10, 2021, 15:47

[Courtesy of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration]

SEOUL -- South Korea disclosed a military project to establish a fleet of ultra-small spy satellites that would be used to quickly detect asymmetric threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles. The project begins in 2022 to launch the first ultra-small satellite in 2025.

South Korea, which relies heavily on American reconnaissance assets to monitor North Korea, aims to acquire an independent reconnaissance satellite system. The combination of a military reconnaissance satellite and ultra-small spy satellites would help South Korea enhance its early warning capabilities and quickly monitor signs of provocations, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) controlled by the defense ministry said in a statement on September 10.

A reconnaissance system using a fleet of ultra-small satellites placed in low orbit can closely monitor areas that a military spy satellite being developed under the supervision of the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a state-run defense technology research body, may miss, DAPA said. The military reconnaissance satellite under development will be equipped with high-performance image radars and optical equipment.

In June 2021, Economy and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki proposed the development of more than 100 ultra-small public satellites for defense and telecommunication by 2031.
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