US Korea Institute

Friday May 26th 2017
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Satellite Imagery

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

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 [...]

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 [...]

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