Monday, December 19, 2022

North Korea conducts a 'final-stage test' of a spy satellite, according to reports

North Korea conducts 'final-stage test' for spy satellite: Report


SEOUL: State media reported on Monday that North Korea carried out an "important final-stage test" for the development of a spy satellite, which it will complete by April of next year.

The report comes a day after the military in Seoul said it had detected two medium-range ballistic missile launches by Pyongyang, the North's most recent in a year of unprecedented weapons tests.

Because they share a lot of the same technology, analysts believe that developing such a satellite would provide North Korea with a cover for testing its banned intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

According to the official Korean Central News Agency on Monday, a spokesperson for the North's National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) stated that the launches were "an important final-stage test for the development of (a) reconnaissance satellite."

Sunday's test, which was carried out at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in Tongchang-ri, confirmed "important technical indices," such as the capability of communication devices to process and transmit data as well as operate cameras in space.

The "test-piece" satellite, which included cameras, image transmitters and receivers, control devices, and batteries, was said to have reached an altitude of 500 kilometers (311 miles) when it was fired at a high angle, according to state media as well.

The spokesman said, "The NADA said this is an important success that has gone through the final gateway process of the launch of (a) reconnaissance satellite," and that the preparations will be finished by April.

Two black-and-white photographs that appeared to depict South Korea as seen from space were published in Rodong Sinmun, the official publication of the Workers' Party in power in North Korea.

One of Pyongyang's most important defense projects, as outlined by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year, was the creation of a military reconnaissance satellite.

The United States and South Korea said that Pyongyang probably used parts of its new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile in the two launches it carried out earlier this year to test components for a reconnaissance satellite.

At the Sohae launch site on Thursday, the North tested a "high-thrust solid-fuel motor" that, according to analysts, would make ballistic missile launches faster and more mobile.

Solid-fuel ICBMs that can be launched from land or submarines are on Kim's wish list, which was made public last year. All of Pyongyang's known ICBMs use liquid fuel.

Since nuclear talks broke down in 2019, Kim has intensified his banned weapons programs. This year, he said he wants the North to have the most powerful nuclear force in the world and called his country an "irreversible" nuclear state.

South Korea and the United States have been warning Pyongyang for months that it is getting ready to conduct its seventh nuclear test.

Since 2006, North Korea's nuclear and missile activities have resulted in multiple sanctions from the UN Security Council.

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