Technology Why North and South Korea Have Big Ambitions in...


Why North and South Korea Have Big Ambitions in Space: An ‘Unblinking Eye’

The two Koreas are elevating a space race aimed at modernizing how each country monitors the other’s improving military firepower. From a report: As hopes for a diplomatic breakthrough have dimmed in recent years, North and South Korea have grown more antagonistic toward one another and upped their displays of military might. They have traded missile tests. Pyongyang has sent drones that flew over downtown Seoul. South Korea has sharpened security and defense ties with the U.S. and Japan. The rise in tensions has elevated the importance — and need — for spy-satellite technology that neither country now has. South Korea cleared a significant technological marker on Thursday, launching multiple commercial satellites aboard a homegrown rocket for the first time. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un regime stands poised to soon fly its first military reconnaissance satellite.

Nuri, South Korea’s three-stage liquid-fuel rocket, blasted off at 6:24 p.m. local time Thursday from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, a city on the country’s southern coast. The 200-ton rocket launched into space and deployed eight satellites into orbit about 342 miles above Earth, about 13 minutes after liftoff. Seoul has the clear technological advantage, weapons analysts say, though Pyongyang has been quick to advance its sanctioned missile program to develop long-range rockets that can carry satellites. Both nations remain years away from having a full-fledged network of spy satellites. But attaining the technology would allow the countries to identify military targets to precisely launch strikes during potential conflict without relying on their allies’ satellite technology for information. In North Korea’s case, space-based satellite technology is essential for its nuclear strategy. Having eyes in the sky would serve as an additional asset to launching nuclear strikes with better accuracy, said Yang Uk, a military expert at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank in Seoul. Should the technology progress enough, North Korea could potentially identify nuclear strike targets in the U.S., he added.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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