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South Korea to operate the world’s 10th military satellite

South Korea to operate the world’s 10th military satellite

Posted July. 22, 2020 07:48,   

Updated July. 22, 2020 07:49


South Korea has successfully launched its first military satellite ANASIS-II, becoming the 10th country that operates a military satellite. With its own military communications satellite, the nation is expected to accelerate force integration of reconnaissance satellites, which is the essential military asset for the transfer of wartime operational control.

According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, ANASIS-II was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket manufactured by SpaceX, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday (Korea Time). The satellite successfully separated from Falcon 9 32 minutes after at an altitude of 630 kilometers and made contact with the Toulouse Space Operations Center in France at around 8:19 a.m.

It is expected to reach the altitude of 36,000 kilometers after unfolding its antennas and solar panels to provide power and changing its orbit for two weeks. After communicating with the satellite, satellite manufacturer Airbus has confirmed that ANASIS-II is showing good conditions overall. It will go through a performance test for some three months before being acquired by the South Korean military and used for missions. “It will be operated within this year after ground terminal tests developed by the Agency for Defense Development,” said an insider of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

The South Korean military believes that full operation of the satellite would improve its operational capabilities. ANASIS-II is equipped with the state-of-the-art communications system, which allows it to encrypt and send voice, text and video messages without being affected by North Korea’s jamming. It has more than doubled its data transmission capacity compared to existing satellites, which allows quicker and more accurate battlefield command and control.

Force integration of reconnaissance satellites, one of the core tasks for the transfer of wartime operational control, is garnering attention thanks to ANASIS-II. The military is promoting the “425 Project” that aims to integrate five domestic spy satellites by 2023. Securing communication and reconnaissance satellites would make it possible for South Korea to operate missions without depending on American strategic assets.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com