South Korea said Saturday its first spy satellite, launched the previous day on a U.S. rocket, has successfully entered orbit, just over a week after North Korea announced it had placed a reconnaissance satellite in orbit for the first time.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 10:19 a.m. on Friday, the U.S. company said.

A rocket carrying South Korea's first spy satellite is launched from California on Dec. 1, 2023. (Photo courtesy of SpaceX)(Kyodo)

South Korea's Defense Ministry said the satellite had successfully established communication with a ground station overseas.

The spy satellite is the first of five that South Korea plans to place in orbit by the end of 2025 using U.S. rockets. The satellite is expected to start full operation within four to six months, according to a South Korean military source.

The launch was originally planned for Thursday but was postponed due to bad weather.

North Korea has said its Malligyong-1 reconnaissance satellite entered orbit on Nov. 21 and will begin operating Friday.


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