Foreign reporters in Pyongyang to cover the planned launch this week of North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket were given a tour of the Sohae launch facility on Sunday.
The launch pad, previously only see through the lens of satellite photos, was opened to the reporters a day after they arrived in North Korea.
Here are some of their first impressions from Twitter. The site will be updated as more becomes available.
KCNA reported on Friday that the foreign journalists included those from AP, Reuters, AFP, CNN, NBC, BBC, Russia’s Channel One, NTV and Zvezda, Japan’s NHK and Kyodo News, Germany’s ARD, Sweden’s SVT, Swiss More >
North Korea no longer relies on a single foreign telecom company to carry its Internet traffic to and from the rest of the world.
Ever since Star Joint Venture launched the country’s first fully-fledged Internet connection in 2010, North Korean traffic has flowed across the country’s northern border and through an interconnection with China Netcom. China Netcom is one of China’s largest Internet backbone providers.
In the last few days the country’s sole Internet operator has begun using an interconnection with Intelsat, the Washington-based international satellite operator, to offer a second route to its network.
Existence of the link was revealed through analysis More >
The latest satellite imagery of North Korea’s Sohae Launch Facility shows what appears to be preparations for the planned mid-April launch of a Unha-3 rocket. The pictures, from GeoEye, show several vehicles in the launch pad area, apparently taking in part in work ahead of the launch. There has also been progress on several construction projects at the facility on North Korea’s western coast.
A previous satellite image of the launch pad, taken 10 days earlier, revealed no apparent activity at the launch pad but the latest image, below, shows several vehicles in the pad area. There also appears to be More >
Air traffic control authorities in North and South Korea have issued warnings to aircraft associated with North Korea’s planned rocket launch in April.
The warnings follow a message issued last week by authorities in The Philippines concerning restrictions on airspace during the April 12th to 16th launch window.
North Korea’s authorities have closed a route that runs across the sky to the south of the Sohae launch facility between two navigation waypoints named “Bodok” and “Tomuk.” (see image)
The South Korean warning prohibits aircraft from flying within the first-stage drop zone, which was earlier identified by North Korean authorities (see embedded map, below).
Both warnings are More >
A recent Google Earth update has revealed some changes at one of North Korea’s largest international communications center.
Pyongyang Earth Station, situated in Pyongyang’s eastern suburb of Sadong, is believed to be responsible for the country’s civilian satellite communications links with the rest of the world. I wrote a little about its history in a previous post.
Late last year it’s testcard (pictured, right) was seen at the end of the international TV feed of the funeral procession for late leader Kim Jong Il.
While there hasn’t been much change at the facility in several years, the summer of 2011 appears to have brought a More >
International experts invited to North Korea to observe its planned Unha-3 rocket launch will get to see not just the launch but also the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite installed in the rocket, state media said on Thursday.
There has been much doubt expressed in the international community about whether the launch, planned to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, is anything more than a cover for a long-range missile test.
The country’s media has to-date failed to provide a photograph of the planned satellite. Even if they did it couldn’t be verified.
Should foreign experts and reporters get a close-up More >
North Korean state media provided a little more information on Wednesday about the mission of the satellite it plans to launch in early April — if the scheduled launch is a satellite mission at all.
Based on the country’s previous two rocket launches, the overwhelming view in the international community is that the rocket launch is nothing more than a test firing of a long-range ballistic missile.
If the rocket really is putting a satellite into space, that should become clear shortly after launch when radar and space tracking stations pick up the satellite on the way into orbit.
Whatever the truth, the Korean Central More >
Voice of Korea, the DPRK’s international shortwave radio broadcaster, is still having technical problems that result in entire broadcasts failing to make it on-air.
Now, a month later, the broadcaster is still failing to match its schedule. Today, on March 27, some of the scheduled transmissions were heard but others were missing.
Here’s a clip from a broadcast on March 20 when, midway through a piece of music the transmitter suddenly goes off air.
Recent satellite images of the Sohae Launch Facility on the DPRK’s west coast are providing the best glimpse yet of the center where the DPRK intends to launch a rocket in early April. North Korea says it’s launching a satellite while the rest of the world consider it a cover for a long-range missile test.
Whatever the truth of the planned launch, here’s a look at some of the most interesting areas of the facility. All of the information is based on analysis of the most current satellite image from GeoEye, previous images through Google Earth, and through previously published pictures More >
Aircraft flying between The Philippines and Japan are being cautioned that three air routes cross the area in which part of North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket is expected to fall to land.
The area is identical to the “second stage falling area” that was notified to international maritime authorities earlier this week. The Unha-3 rocket is a two-stage design and one part is expected to drop into the sea to the west of South Korea with the other falling near The Philippines.
The air routes affected are A582, which goes from Jomalig island off the eastern coast of Mindanao to Japan’s Kyushu island via More >