Most people who read this blog will be familiar with the image of the two Koreas at nighttime by a NASA satellite
On January 30, 2014, an astronaut on the International Space Station used a Nikon D3S camera to capture a new image of the Korean peninsula at 10:16 pm — one that’s even more dramatic than the monochrome NASA satellite image of old.
As NASA says, “The darkened land appears as if it were a patch of water joining the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan. Its capital city, More >
Driving up South Korea’s “freedom highway” north of Seoul, just after the turn off for the National Defense University, observant travelers will notice a collection of transmitter masts off to the right of the highway.
At first glance, the site looks like it might belong to a major broadcaster like KBS, but the truth appears to be much more interesting.
Seeing inside the site is impossible from the highway, but a neighboring hill provides a good outlook, as shown below.
The site contains 16 transmitter masts, all but one of which are contained in a large field. A single mast sits in the middle More >
Korean Central Television, the DPRK’s main nationwide TV channel, appears to have received another technology upgrade.
New satellite images uploaded to Google Earth show four satellite dishes on the roof of a building at the TV and radio broadcasting center. They weren’t there a few months ago.
It’s interesting because previously the TV and radio broadcasting center didn’t appear to have any link with the rest of the world. At least, nothing direct it controlled. It’s quite possible that signals from overseas were downlinked somewhere else and supplied over cable to the building.
Here’s the building as shown in a Google image from More >
A NorthKoreaTech/38 North exclusive, with contributions by Nick Hansen and Michelle Kae
New GeoEye satellite imagery from December 10 shows activity at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-ri) related to the removal of the Unha rocket from the launch pad, a process that is probably still underway and will not be completed before December 12-13 at the earliest. (NorthKoreaTech/38 North believes South Korean press reports that the entire rocket had been removed to the assembly building for repairs as of December 11 were wrong.)
This conclusion is based on a number of considerations. First, imagery taken on December 8 and 10 More >
The latest satellite imagery of North Korea’s Sohae-ri Launch Facility is in from GeoEye and adds weight to possibility that weather is causing problems at the launch pad.
The image, taken earlier Monday, shows a blanket of snow covering most of the launch facility. Visible in some areas are vehicle tire tracks, indicating some movement, but some of the tracks appear to have been covered with an additional layer of snow, indicating repeated snowfall.
Last week the DPRK said it planned to launch a rocket between December 10 and 22nd, and on Sunday said the launch window would be extended until December More >
A joint NorthKoreaTech/38 North exclusive, with analysis by Nick Hansen.
North Korean preparations for a new rocket launch later this month appear to be proceeding more slowly than previously reported in the press according to analysis of commercial satellite imagery from December 4 and past DPRK test practices. Moreover, since this is Pyongyang’s first attempt to launch a long-range rocket in winter, weather may be a new factor that has already slowed the launch preparations.
Contrary to press reports that the three-stage Unha rocket had already been erected at the launch pad by December 5, the North may have had insufficient More >
It’s sadly not possible to get a live look at North Korea’s Sohae launch facility, but we do have the next best thing: a satellite image from earlier today.
The image was taken by a GeoEye satellite at 11:34am local time (0234 GMT) and shows dustings of snow across much of the launch facility. (As usual, click for a larger version of the image.)
Satellite images had previously shown increased activity at the site and suggested a launch was being planned, but it wasn’t until Saturday that North Korea made it official: the county will attempt to launch a Kwangmyongsong 3 satellite More >
Both of the major private satellite imagery providers, GeoEye and DigitalGlobe, have captured images of the North Korean satellite launch facility in the last month and both images show changes from earlier this year.
Earlier this year, satellite images from the companies were one of the first indications that North Korea was preparing for a rocket launch and now that talk has restarted. It’s in part due to DigitalGlobe’s own analysis of its latest image and an article on 38 North that looks at an image from September.
So, what do the images show is happening at Sohae, also known as Tongchang-ri launch More >
After North Korea invited international media to its satellite control center it was only a matter of time before it was located on satellite images. The building, distinctive for two round domes (possible radar domes) on the rooftop at each end (see below), made it fairly easy to spot. And that’s what’s happened.
Most of the media that visited the facility didn’t report its location. Japan’s NHK said it was in “northern Pyongyang” (correct!) while Chinese media said “about 20 kilometers northwest of Pyongyang” (incorrect).
It was first spotted by a reader to Curtis Melvin’s North Korea Economy Watch site.
The launch might More >
As the hours tick down towards North Korea’s planned launch of its Unha-3 rocket, DigitalGlobe has published fresh satellite images of the Sohae launch facility.
The images include some taken on Monday, April 9, and show little has changed since reporters visited the site a day earlier. The images are reproduced below.
There is an apparent error in one of the slides. In a report from Pyongyang after visiting Sohae, NBC News space analyst James Oberg reported that the building labeled a “high bay processing facility” is in fact the launch control center. A second building on a hill above the launch More >