The South Korean government has postponed a spy satellite launch following North Korea’s announcement that it successfully put its first surveillance satellite into orbit.
Originally set for Thursday, the planned launch was to involve a SpaceX rocket carrying Seoul’s first spy satellite into space from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Unfavorable weather conditions delayed the launch, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.
It also disclosed that the liftoff will take place this Saturday but did not rule out the possibility of another delay.
South Korea’s plan to put its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit is part of a broader effort to better monitor Pyongyang as it expands its nuclear weapons arsenal.
Seoul does not own a spy satellite, relying only on US space assets to gather intelligence regarding the military activities of its adversaries.
North Korea’s Attempts
On November 21, North Korea announced that its Malligyong-1 spy satellite was successfully placed into orbit following two controversial failed attempts.
The first attempt was in May using a new carrier rocket called Chollima-1, but the satellite plunged into the sea due to “serious defects.”
Three months later, Pyongyang announced that its second attempt to launch a military “eye in the sky” failed due to an error in the emergency blasting system.
Despite North Korea claiming the success of its latest launch, Seoul has argued that it would need more time to verify if the space asset is working correctly.
On Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country’s new spy satellite was able to photograph some US government and military facilities, including the Pentagon and White House.