US Korea Institute

Thursday January 19th 2017
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John Schilling

John Schilling is an aerospace engineer with more than twenty years of experience, specializing in rocket and spacecraft propulsion and mission analysis. Dr. Schilling received his Ph.D. in astronautical engineering from the University of Southern California, and spent most of his career as a contractor for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Propulsion Directorate. When not studying the nuclear arsenals of foreign dictators, he currently works for the Aerospace Corporation as a specialist in satellite and launch vehicle propulsion systems.

How Might North Korea Test an ICBM?

How Might North Korea Test an ICBM?

In his 2017 New Year’s Address, Kim Jong Un mentioned (among many other things) that North Korea had “entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile.” It should be noted that this was neither the focus of his speech—which, for the most part, was a list of last year’s accomplishments—nor [...]

North Korean Missiles Can’t Actually Reach Europe

North Korean Missiles Can’t Actually Reach Europe

(Photo: Pedro Ugarte/AFP) We note with bemused interest that the South Korean government is now claiming that North Korea’s missiles pose a “direct threat to the US homeland” and that “Europe is also within range.” European media has reported that the director-general of South Korea’s North Korean Nuclear Affairs Bureau made the [...]

Musudan Could Be Operational Sooner Than Expected

Musudan Could Be Operational Sooner Than Expected

North Korea seems to have tested its Musudan missile seven times this year, with only a single clear success to show for it. But the North Koreans aren’t simply repeating old failures.  And they aren’t taking the slow path to developing a reliable system, with a year or so between each test to analyze the data and make improvements. That has [...]

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet

Summary On September 20, KCNA reported that Kim Jong Un had overseen the testing of a large new rocket engine at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. They claimed this new engine had a thrust of 80 tons and would be use for a new space launch vehicle. Rocket engine thrust isn’t normally measured in “tons,” and there is some ambiguity [...]

North Korea’s SLBM Program Progresses, But Still Long Road Ahead

North Korea’s SLBM  Program Progresses, But Still Long Road Ahead

The success of North Korea’s latest submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test suggests the program may be progressing faster than originally expected. However, this does not mean it will be ready next week, next month, or even next year. Rather, the pace and method of the North’s SLBM testing would suggest possible deployment in an [...]

North Korea’s Man on the Moon?

North Korea’s Man on the Moon?

“Even though the U.S. and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon!” What would have been alarming coming from a Cold War superpower seems almost comical coming from Pyongyang. Yet that was the recent claim from Hyon Kwang Il, director of [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.