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South Korea Announces Micro-Satellite Reconnaissance System

South Korea announced the development of an indigenous micro-satellite reconnaissance system beginning next year in a bid to lower the country’s reliance on US technology. 

The reported 11.2 billion won ($9.6 million) system will consist of a military reconnaissance satellite operating many micro-satellites, the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) revealed

According to the DAPA, the high resolution, radar-equipped micro-satellites will be placed at a low orbit to identify “anomalies” in the detection area, providing early warning capability against Pyongyang missile launches and other “major threats.” The micro-satellites will be able to detect activities that regular military reconnaissance satellites may miss, Seoul-based Aju Business Daily wrote.

Scrapping of Missile Restriction Guideline

The development comes after a four-decade US-South Korea missile restriction on the maximum range of Seoul’s ballistic missiles was scrapped. The guideline prohibited Seoul from developing rockets capable of sending spy satellites in orbit, forcing the country to rely on US intelligence gathering to monitor the North’s military activities.

Three months after the scrapping in May, Seoul announced a 1.6 trillion won ($1.36 billion) decade-long “master plan” to bolster its defense capabilities in outer space. 

Decade-long Outer Space Plan

In addition to the micro-satellite system, the plan includes an 18.5 billion won ($15.8 million) “satellite-mounted advanced sensor for infrared observation of the Earth’s surface.”

According to Tokyo-based Kyodo News, the system would have “50 percent higher resolution than those mounted on existing satellites that are operated overseas.”


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