Posts tagged Kwangmyongsong-3
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.
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.
The DPRK has submitted registration papers for the recently launched Kwangmyongsong 3-2 satellite to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
The papers were dated January 24 but were only made available this week by the Vienna-based organization. They were submitted by the DPRK’s diplomatic mission in the city.
They don’t provide any new information on the satellite, but are an important political step in North Korea’s continued instance that the launch was for peaceful purposes and that it’s abiding by international space conventions.
In this case, the OOSA’s registration convention calls on member states to furnish basic details about the launch including the time, launch site location and the parameters of the satellite trajectory.
You can see the entire document on the OOSA website.
In this case, the general function of the satellite was described as “Earth observation satellite for surveying crops, forest resources and natural disasters.”
It is the first time the DPRK has submitted launch registration papers for a satellite with the UN OOSA. That makes sense as it’s the country’s first successful space launch, but it serves to highlight previous propaganda claims that earlier launches were successful.
North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, launched on December 12 but apparently silent ever since, has been captured on video by a South African satellite watcher. [UPDATED: See below]
Greg Roberts posted several video clips on YouTube that show reflections of light from the sides the satellite as it orbits the Earth.
The clips are from December 20th and clearly show the flashes of light. The camera was set on a mount to track the satellite’s path, so the stars in the sky move past in the background. As noted in the videos, the camera has some dead pixels that appear continuously white. Ignore those and watch the center of the picture to see the flashes.
The video appears to show some strange movement by the launch but, as Roberts explains:
The satellite was moving faster than my tracking mount could keep up with the satellite as it went through culmination ,and eventually it was able to almost catch up again after passing culmination.
The mount then stopped tracking and the satellite was visible for a few more seconds before it went into earths shadow.
As for the actual satellite itself, there are still no signs of radio life from the craft. (See my previous post noting some of the difficulties in detecting radio signals.)
While there are challenges to hearing Kwangmyongsong-3, the satellite has now made numerous passes over multiple satellite tracking stations — both professional and amateur run — and nothing has been reported. With each pass and each day that goes by, it begins to look increasingly likely that the satellite is either not functioning.
UPDATE: I just came across some analysis of these videos by Marco Langbroek in The Netherlands.
On his SatTrackCam Lieden blog, he includes some image analysis of the video that produces a slightly more accurate flash rate of 8.45 seconds. Take a look.
It’s been a few days since North Korea put a satellite into space — a massive technological step for the country and something widely condemned by other countries — but we’re still not much closer to knowing anything about what’s up in space.
It only took a few hours for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Colorado-based U.S. Canadian air early warning organization, to detect three new objects in space coming from the North Korean rocket. NORAD later detected a fourth object.
The objects have been identified as the Kwangmyongsong 3-2 satellite (the second version of the satellite. The first version was destroyed in April’s failed launch), a rocket booster from the Unha-3 rocket and two pieces of rocket debris.
NORAD has also issued data that describes the orbit of the satellite. Using the data, called a two-line element (below), it’s possible for satellite tracking software to determine where the satellite is at any moment.
And so trackers, including the N2YO online tracker, are active and can indicate where the satellite is at any one time.
This is an important first step for anyone trying to hear any transmissions from Kwangmyongsong 3-2, because it’s only possible to receive signals from the satellite when it’s in range. You can see the area in range at any moment by clicking the “draw footprint” box underneath the N2YO tracker.
So, we know where to point an antenna and when to listen, but we don’t know where to listen.
The most North Korea has said about the satellite is that it would transmit on 470MHz, but we don’t know if that’s an exact frequency or just an indication of the frequency band.
There’s a global frequency band for space to Earth weather satellite communication from 460MHz to 470MHz. Above 470MHz is globally assigned to broadcasting usage, althoug China uses 470MHz to 485 MHz for satellite communications. North Korea doesn’t have such a usage, according to the international frequency band plan from the U.S. FCC. which does list DPRK exceptions in other bands.
It’s also not known what the satellite is transmitting — assuming it’s working.
The satellite was supposed to have several roles.
Kwangmyongsong-3 as an earth observation satellite will assess the distribution of forests and natural resources of the DPRK, the level of natural disaster, the crop estimate, etc. and collect data necessary for weather forecast, natural resources prospecting and others.
Kwangmyongsong-3 has video camera mounted on it and will send observation data including pictures to the General Satellite Control and Command Centre. It weighs 100kg and will circle along the solar synchronous orbit at 500km high altitude. Its life is two years. – KCNA report in March.
That was earlier this year. After this week’s launch, North Korea has said just one thing about its transmissions.
The satellite is now airing ‘Song of General Kim Il Sung’ and ‘Song of General Kim Jong Il’. — KCNA, December 13, 2012.
That mirrors claims the state media made back in 2009 when North Korea first claimed to launch a satellite (something that was widely thought to an unsuccessful launch attempt).
It is sending to the earth the melodies of the immortal revolutionary paeans “Song of General Kim Il Sung” and “Song of General Kim Jong Il” and measured information at 470 MHz. By the use of the satellite the relay communications is now underway by UHF frequency band. — KCNA, April 5, 2009.
But it’s also something that the DPRK never mentioned when talking about Kwangmyongsong 3-1, the first version of the satellite, back in March. Of course, it’s possible the payload has changed, but if so it’s an interesting change.
To-date, no one has reported hearing anything that could be coming from the satellite. No music, no data, no telemetry. Nothing.
It could just be taking time to discover its frequencies. It’s a slow job because the satellite is only in range of any point on Earth for a maximum of about an hour a day, and that’s split into several passes of about 10 minutes long.
But as the days go on, it will become increasingly likely that the satellite has malfunctioned in some way.
North Korea’s international radio broadcaster, the Voice of Korea, carried two items in English on Wednesday announcing the rocket launch.
The first led the news bulletin and was just over two minutes long:
The second, announced over a musical bed, was about 3 minutes long and came at the end of the hour-long broadcast:
Both recordings were from Voice of Korea’s 1500GMT broadcast received via shortwave on 9335kHz.
It’s been given the satellite catalog number 39026 and the international designator 12-072A — both identifications that help keep sorted the catalogs of satellites and junk in orbit around the planet.
Analysis of the current trajectory of the satellite provides some clues as to its launch. If you remember back in April, there was a lot of speculation about whether North Korean planned to have the third stage rocket make a dog-leg maneuver while heading into orbit.
That seems to have been the case this time around, said satellite launch and tracking expert Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Writing on his Planet 4589 web site, he said:
I believe the launch is consistent with flight on an 88 deg trajectory from Sohae launch site followed by a yawed third stage burn to put the satellite in a 97 deg orbit. — Jonathon’s Space Report
The race is now on to detect any signals from the satellite.
North Korea didn’t say much about the satellite this time around, but last time said it would broadcast around 470MHz.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, says it tracked the North Korean rocket launch and that it appears to have placed an object in orbit.
Here’s the statement, issued out of Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, NORAD said:
North American Aerospace Defense Command officials acknowledged today that U.S. missile warning systems detected and tracked the launch of a North Korean missile at 7:49 p.m. EST. The missile was tracked on a southerly azimuth. Initial indications are that the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea. The second stage was assessed to fall into the Philippine Sea. Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit. At no time was the missile or the resultant debris a threat to North America.
Earlier in the day, North Korean state media said the Unha-3 rocket had successfully placed a satellite into space.
If the country has successfully placed a satellite into space, it’s a huge moment for the country’s scientists. If the satellite turns out to work, it will be bigger still.