Sometimes it’s the little things that mark larger changes in North Korean society.
[This post has been updated, see below]
As the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung this Sunday, April 15, announcers on state television have begun wearing new pins that have two faces on them.
The “Kim pins” are familiar to anyone that closely follows North Korea. Worn on the lapel almost all the time by North Koreans, they typically have the face of Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il.
Eagle-eyed North Korean TV monitor Mark Fahey in Australia spotted the change in More >
Voice of Korea, the DPRK’s international radio service, broadcast news of the failure to place the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite into orbit.
Below is a recording of the radio station’s English-language broadcast for Friday. Voice of Korea typically updates its programming once a day, so is almost always beaten to the news by domestic media outlets. i’m posting it here because it’s the only radio or TV news available in English.
As expected, there’s no update on the reason for the failure.
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 >
North Korean TV ran a special news broadcast informing the country that the launch of the Kwangmyongsong 3 had failed to reach.
The broadcast came several hours after the launch. which passed by when national TV was still yet to begin programming. When it did begin daily broadcasts, the TV station opened as usual and went into regular programming.
The special bulletin came several hours later, long after the rest of the world has discovered what happened to the rocket.
According to U.S. media reports attributed to government sources, the rocket exploded about 90 seconds after its launch from the Sohae launch facility.
The More >
Based on information submitted by the DPRK to international organizations prior to launch, the folks at Analytical Graphics have produced a good-looking computer simulation of what the Unha-3 launch might look like.
The simulation lacks of the most recent theories on the precise launch path, such as a slight dog-leg turn in the trajectory of the satellite when the third stage separates, but that’s not too important.
Take a look and you’ll have a good feel for the path of the rocket and how the first and second stages will drop into the ocean.
Launch of the Unha-3 rocket and Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite isn’t the only big thing happening in Pyongyang this week. As the city gears up to mark 100 years since the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea is holding its conference.
During Wednesday’s session, the conference named Kim Jong Il the “eternal general secretary of the WPK” and named Kim Jong Un “first secretary of the WPK,” which was “true to the behest of leader Kim Jong Il,” according to a KCNA report.
While we’re all waiting for that, here are some pictures of the conference courtesy of North Korean 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 >
A lucky close-up of a computer screen in TV pictures from the Sohae launch facility is providing further clues as to the true launch trajectory of North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket launch.
[This story has been updated, see below]
The shot, included in pictures broadcast by Russia Today (see below), appears to show the satellite’s orbital path on a computer screen. It begins at the top of the image (click for a better view) and sweeps down across North Korea traveling southwards until it skirts the western coast of Mindanao and travels onwards to cross Australia’s eastern tip.
This additional information has led satellite More >
If all goes according to plan, North Korea will launch its Unha-3 rocket from the Sohae launch facility in just a day or two. The rocket is said to contain an earth observation satellite that will orbit the globe providing pictures and climatic data.
Getting all the pieces to work as planned will be no small feat for North Korea. Its previous attempt to launch a satellite using a three-stage rocket failed in 2009 when the third stage didn’t ignite, sending it and a satellite plunging into the Pacific Ocean.
Assuming all three stages of the rocket succeed this time, the precision More >
It’s been a day since foreign reporters were given a tour of North Korea’s Sohae launch facility. Stories have been filed, photos have been uploaded and video has been broadcast, so what have we learned?
The man of the moment at the launch site was Jang Myong Jin, who was identified as general manager of the launch facility and widely quoted in reports. Jang repeated government assertions that the launch is peaceful in purpose and intended to launch a satellite.
“If it were a ballistic missile it would have to be hidden in an underground chamber, or would need to be carried More >