US Korea Institute

Tuesday February 21st 2017
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Satellite Imagery

A look from the sky at what’s happening down in the DPRK.

New Launch Facilities Under Construction at Musudan-ri, Possible Iranian Connection

New Launch Facilities Under Construction at Musudan-ri, Possible Iranian Connection

New satellite photos from April 29, 2012 indicate that a major upgrade of North Korea’s Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground—more commonly referred to as Musudan-ri—underway since summer 2011, is making rapid progress. The new construction is intended to support future launches of rockets larger than the recently tested Unha—more capable [...]

North Korea Resumes Construction of Light Water Reactor: Completion of Buildings May Be Near

North Korea Resumes Construction of Light Water Reactor: Completion of Buildings May Be Near

After months of inactivity, North Korea has resumed work on its new experimental light water reactor (ELWR), which the DPRK claims is intended to help solve domestic energy shortages, but is also an important component in its effort to build nuclear weapons. Commercial satellite photography from April 30, 2012 reveals that Pyongyang is now close [...]

North Korean Nuclear Test Preparations: An Update

North Korean Nuclear Test Preparations: An Update

Recent press reports on the impending North Korean nuclear test have been ambiguous. Some have quoted reliable sources that a test is imminent. Others have stated that there are no obvious signs that a test will happen soon. The most recent commercial satellite imagery available of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test facility supports the contention that [...]

North Korea Readies The Unha-3 for Launch on April 12, 2012

North Korea Readies The Unha-3 for Launch on April 12, 2012

The North Koreans are making good progress to be able to launch the Unha-3 on April 12, 2012, the start of their announced launch window. Analysis on the most recent available imagery from April 9 shows activity at the propellant storage buildings adjacent to the pad, indicating fueling the rocket is about to start. In addition, the needed [...]

Is the Rocket on the Sohae Launch Pad? A 38 North Exclusive

Is the Rocket on the Sohae Launch Pad? A 38 North Exclusive

Analysis of commercial satellite photographs taken on April 4 of North Korea’s Sohae Launch Center indicates some evidence to suggest that the first stage of the Unha-3 rocket, while not visible, may be stacked in the gantry. If Pyongyang is following the timeline previously published by 38 North (based on the experience of past rocket [...]

New Evidence of Advanced Preparations for DPRK Rocket Launch: 38 North Exclusive

New Evidence of Advanced Preparations for DPRK Rocket Launch: 38 North Exclusive

Satellite photography of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-dong Space Launch Center) reveals that North Korea has undertaken more extensive preparations for its planned April rocket launch than previously understood. Figure 1: The Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-dong Space Launch Center) 38 North has now [...]

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