Launched from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base using SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, it's the first of five spy satellites the ROK plans to send into space by 2025 under a contract with SpaceX. The event had been scheduled for earlier in the week but was pushed back because of the weather.
The ROK had previously had no military reconnaissance satellites of its own in space and had partially resorted to the U.S. spy satellites to monitor moves by the DPRK.
The ROK's Defense Ministry described the launch as successful, saying the satellite had communicated with an overseas ground station.
A ministry statement said the launch allowed the ROK military to acquire an independent space-based surveillance system. It said the satellite would also help bolster the military's preemptive missile strike capability, a key part of its so-called three-axis system that includes missile defense and massive retaliatory capabilities.
After two launch failures earlier this year, the DPRK said it successfully placed its Malligyong-1 satellite into orbit on November 21. The DPRK has since said its satellite had transmitted imagery with space views of key sites in the U.S. and the ROK, including the White House and the Pentagon. But it has yet to release any satellite photos.
U.S. and ROK officials have confirmed the DPRK satellite's entry into orbit.
On Saturday, the DPRK's Defense Ministry threatened to take steps to eliminate or undermine the capabilities of U.S. spy satellites, protesting comments by an unspecified U.S. Space Command official that hinted at an attack on the DPRK satellite. The ministry said it would consider such an action a declaration of war.