SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched South Korea's first military reconnaissance satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in southwestern California.

North Korea already successfully launched its own spy satellite into orbit last month.

SpaceX stopped real-time tracking of the mission minutes after the launch and subsequent return of the accelerator to the main stage of the rocket, without showing the separation of the payload.

South Korea imposes sanctions on Pyongyang

In May, South Korea used its own-made Noori rocket to launch a mission-capable commercial satellite for the first time in history, but then signed a contract with SpaceX to launch five military reconnaissance satellites by 2025 in an effort to accelerate the goal of 24-hour surveillance of the Korean Peninsula.

After two failed attempts to put its spy satellite into orbit in which launch vehicles crashed, North Korea used its Cholima-1 rocket to launch the Maligyong 1 reconnaissance satellite. Pyongyang has not yet released images from the satellite, and analysts say its full capabilities are unknown.

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