North Korea’s state news agency said Saturday that the country plans to launch a satellite later in the month.
The launch will be the second the country has attempted this year. The last, in April, ended in failure when the rocket failed to make it to orbit.
Confirmation comes after several days of speculation the country was preparing for a launch at the Sohae-ri Satellite Launch Facility in the country’s north. Satellite images of the launch facility had showed increased activity consistent with a launch.
The KCNA bulletin, which was released Saturday afternoon, said the rocket would take a safe flight path. Previously, it flew directly south of Sohae over the sea, passing over Okinawa and on to the Pacific Ocean. First and second stage drop points were to the west of South Korea and off the east coast of The Philippines. More details will likely be released by North Korean authorities in the coming days and weeks.
The launch comes as South Korea is also trying to put a satellite into orbit. Launch of the rocket was called off on Thursday shortly before scheduled take-off and another attempt is due soon.
Here’s the KCNA news in full:
Pyongyang, December 1 (KCNA) — A spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology issued the following statement Saturday:
The DPRK plans to launch another working satellite, second version of Kwangmyongsong-3, manufactured by its own efforts and with its own technology, true to the behests of leaderKim Jong Il.
Scientists and technicians of the DPRK analyzed the mistakes that were made during the previous April launch and deepened the work of improving the reliability and precision of the satellite and carrier rocket, thereby rounding off the preparations for launch.
The polar-orbiting earth observation satellite will blast off southward from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province by carrier rocket Unha-3 in the period between December 10 and 22.
A safe flight path has been chosen so that parts of the carrier rocket that might fall during the launch process would not affect neighboring countries.
At the time of the April launch, the DPRK ensured utmost transparency of the peaceful scientific and technological satellite launch and promoted international trust in the fields of space science researches and satellite launch. The DPRK will fully comply with relevant international regulations and usage as regards the upcoming launch, too.