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 >
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 >