Friday, March 23, 2012

Just In: NK Launch Site Ready (Photos)

A map shows the Korean Peninsula, and the location of the new launch center.
(Image Credit: GoldenEye and Google Earth)

This just in: New satellite imagery obtained by Secret Squirrel shows the recently completed Multi-Use launch site where North Korea plans to launch a satellite into Earth orbit. The upcoming launch of North Korea's satellite is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung's birth, in defiance of a recently signed deal to suspend missile launches and nuclear tests in return for badly needed food aid. North Korea says that the agreement does not pertain to the "peaceful use of space", while the United Nations, and the United States maintain that the launch vehicle is "dual-use" and can be used to launch an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

NK Propaganda featuring Kim Il-Sung.

Detail of the launch pad and umbilical tower. No missile or launch vehicle are visible.
 (Image Credit: GoldenEye and Google Earth)

A close examination of the launch pad and umbilical tower, verified NK Humint Ground Assets shows no sign of a missile or launch vehicle. Since the launch is planned to take place in the April 12-16 time frame, launch preparation activity will probably not be visible until about a week prior to NK leader Kim Jong Un's lunch, I mean launch.

Kim Jong Un is very hungry.

Detail of the Missile Assembly Building and the new rail-to-road transfer point.
 (Image Credit: GoldenEye and Google Earth)

The imagery obtained from GoldenEye, (I really liked that game) taken on Tuesday March 20, shows a completed launch pad, and the extension of a 15 mile rail spur that ends at the missile assembly building.

 The location of the launch site allows North Korea the ability to place a satellite in orbit without overflying South Korea territory.
 (Image Credit: GoldenEye and Google Earth)

Located on the West coast of the Korean peninsula just 30 miles south of the Chinese border, the new facility has been under construction for several years. It is intended to replace the aging and remote launch site at Musudan-ri on the Northeast coast. The launch date has been announced to fall between April 12-16th. The North Korean's plan to place the satellite in orbit in southerly direction thus avoiding overflight of South Korean territory. Secret Squirrel out!
Source: Tim Brown Global Security

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