North Korea has at least two more satellites ready to fly “at any time,” two of the country’s space scientists have told CNN in an interesting interview conducted in Pyongyang.
The interview builds on one given a month ago to The Associated Press during which one of the two National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) officials said it was developing a more advanced satellite than one launched in late 2012.
Both interviews appear to be part of the country’s build-up to a launch that experts outside the country predict will occur later this year.
The U.S. government says it doesn’t have a problem with North Korean satellites in space, just as long as they aren’t launched on North Korean rockets.
That distinction could be important in coming months as North Korea moves towards attempting to put a second satellite into space.
North Korea’s space agency told the Associated Press last week that it is planning to launch another satellite.
The satellite will be the fifth it has attempted to put in orbit. The first three launches were unsuccessful but the fourth, in December 2012, successfully placed a satellite into space, although the satellite appears to have malfunctioned.
Another launch is certain to bring further criticism from neighboring countries and the United Nations Security Council and North Korea appears to be preparing for this in the same way it handled it last time: by claiming it has a “legitimate right to space development for peaceful purposes” and that any criticism is a double-standard.
North Korea’s new satellite control center has been located.
Thanks to TV images broadcast on state television, Curtis Melvin was quickly able to match the building with one he’d been observing under construction in central Pyongyang. He reports it’s in the Pothonggang District and estimates the size at about 570 square meters.
Satellite images available through Google Earth indicate construction was begun sometime between April 13 and July 3, 2014.
It took over a clearing that had been cut out of the surrounding forest for several years.
North Korea has built a new satellite control center, according to state-run media reports on Sunday.
Existence of the center was revealed with news that Kim Jong Un visited the site recently. The exact date of the visit or its location wasn’t disclosed.
A little of the center could be seen in images carried by KCNA.
The Gaofen-1 satellite has been used to discover “about 10” such crossings both on the China-DPRK border and in the Xinjiang Uygur region of northwest China, said China Daily reported, quoting the China National Space Administration.
The satellite has also been used to spot poppy plantations in Heilongjiang and Hebei provinces, marijuana growing in Jilin province and suspected oil smuggling off the coast of Fujian province. More >
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, Pyongyang, appears like a small island, despite a population of 3.26 million (as of 2008). The light emission from Pyongyang is equivalent to the smaller towns in South Korea.”
“Coastlines are often very apparent in night imagery, as shown by South Korea’s eastern shoreline. But the coast of North Korea is difficult to detect. These differences are illustrated in per capita power consumption in the two countries, with South Korea at 10,162 kilowatt hours and North Korea at 739 kilowatt hours.” More >
North Korea’s Minju Joson newspaper on Saturday criticized the recent launch of a new spy satellite by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, according to a report on the state-run Korea Central News Agency.
The classified satellite, called NROL-65, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on August 28 into an orbit that is used by spy satellites.
Not much is known about the satellite, but it’s thought to be the latest addition to the Keyhole constellation of reconnaissance satellites. As such, it will likely strengthen the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to look into North Korea.
Thus, the Minju Joson isn’t pleased.
It is as clear as a pikestaff that the spy satellite would be used for the purpose of the aggressive and warlike foreign policy of the U.S. aiming to dominate the world.
The U.S. is attaching weighty significance to the speed and scientific accuracy in collecting information to carry out its aggressive foreign policy. It is paying special attention to rounding off the intelligence-gathering system by spy satellites.
Hence, the U.S. is keen to cover the space with a dense network of its spy satellites and hold supremacy in this aspect, too. — Minju Joson, September 14, 2013, via KCNA
It wasn’t so long ago that North Korea was trying to launch its first spy satellite, called Kwangmyongsong 3.
The first launch, on April 13, 2013, ended in failure but the second, on December 12, 2012, was successful. Unfortunately for Pyongyang, the satellite appears to have suffered a total failure and was delivered into orbit inoperable.
The newspaper editorial also singled out a recent test by Raytheon of its SM-6 missile interceptor. Two were fired from the USS Chancellorsville and successfully engaged two cruise missies target drones in the missile’s first over-the-horizon test scenario at sea.
It is by no means accidental that some time ago the U.S. launched two “SM-6” interceptor missiles from its navy ship “Chancellorsville”.
It is the military strategic scenario of the U.S. to take an unchallenged edge in the field of strategic and offensive weapons by combining the intelligence-gathering system by spy satellites and the interceptor missile system. — Minju Joson, September 14, 2013, via KCNA
Here’s video of the NROL-65 launch and some file video of the USS Chancellorsville.