US Korea Institute

Sunday April 30th 2017
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Satellite Imagery

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

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 [...]

North Korea Begins Launch Pad Preparations for April Rocket Launch: A 38 North Exclusive

North Korea Begins Launch Pad Preparations for April Rocket Launch: A 38 North Exclusive

Satellite imagery from March 28 shows the beginning of North Korean preparations at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (more commonly known as Tongchang-dong Space Launch Center) for its planned April rocket launch. Work to prepare the launch pad for stacking the Unha-3 satellite launch vehicle (SLV) appears to be underway. The mobile launch [...]

Getting North Korea’s Rocket to the Launch Pad

Getting North Korea’s Rocket to the Launch Pad

I have been looking at options for how North Korea could get its rocket to the launch pad and ready for launch at the Tongchang-dong site. My conclusion is that the stages of the rocket will likely be transported separately and assembled on the pad, as North Korea apparently did in preparation for its April 2009 launch at the Musudan-ri launch [...]

China’s Embrace of North Korea: The Curious Case of the Hwanggumpyong Island Economic Zone

China’s Embrace of North Korea: The Curious Case of the Hwanggumpyong Island Economic Zone

Background In early June 2011, China and the DPRK announced an agreement to establish a free trade area on Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa Islands, undeveloped sites adjacent to China’s border city of Dandong where a tax-free zone will also be established. These islands are located in the downstream area of the Yalu River on the border between the [...]

North Korea Makes Significant Progress in Building New Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR)

North Korea Makes Significant Progress in Building New Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR)

This article is a “38 North” exclusive in cooperation with DigitalGlobe’s Analysis Center and with contributions by Robert Kelley and Mehdi Sarram. This is the first of a new satellite imagery analysis feature, focusing on areas of security and economic interest. SUMMARY A year after disclosing the project, North Korea recently announced [...]

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