US Korea Institute

Saturday February 25th 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.

The Pukguksong-2: A Higher Degree of Mobility, Survivability and Responsiveness

The Pukguksong-2: A Higher Degree of Mobility, Survivability and Responsiveness

Sources in the United States, South Korea and Japan reported that North Korea launched a ballistic missile over the weekend. North Korea has been hinting at an intercontinental ballistic missile test since the beginning of the year, but this was no ICBM. Reports indicate that this missile reached a height of 550 kilometers before impacting in the [...]

Is North Korea Preparing a Missile Test?

Is North Korea Preparing a Missile Test?

On January 19, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that North Korea had placed two missiles on mobile launchers in preparation for possible testing in the early days of the Trump administration. Details are still scarce, and it should be noted that North Korea has in the past prepared missiles for launch without conducting any test. As we [...]

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 [...]

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