Military seeks to acquire around 60 small, micro spy satellites by 2030

SEOUL, South Korea's military seeks to acquire around 60 small and micro-sized spy satellites by 2030, a source said Wednesday, amid efforts to bolster independent monitoring capabilities against North Korean threats. The military plans to launch around 10 to 20 small-sized reconnaissance satellites and some 40 microsatellites after acquiring five mid-sized spy satellites by 2025, according to the source. South Korea launched its first military spy satellite into orbit on a SpaceX rocket from a U.S. military base in California last December as part of a project to acquire the five mid-sized satellites, which have a mass of around 800 to 1,000 kilograms. The source said authorities are pushing for the acquisition of small and micro-sized satellites as they determined that the mid-sized satellites were not enough to properly monitor North Korea. The state arms procurement agency announced a plan last year to develop a microsatellite system by 2030. Through the envisioned satellite constellation, the milit ary is expected to monitor the Korean Peninsula every 30 minutes or less. The small-sized satellites, which have a mass of less than 500 kg, and the microsatellites under 100 kg are planned to be launched from a homegrown solid-fuel space rocket. The launch period for the small-sized satellites is said to be scheduled for 2026 to 2028, while that of the microsatellites will be from 2028 to 2030. "The push for a homegrown solid-fuel space rocket also influenced the plan to acquire additional reconnaissance satellites," the source said. Last December, the military successfully conducted its third test flight of a solid-fuel space rocket. Source: Yonhap News Agency