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DPRK Military Duel Purpose Satellite Programs

Military & Civil Satellite Missions

© By Charles P. Vick (All Rights Reserved)

Senior Technical Analyst, Globalsecurity.org

10-27-09

For years going back to 1989 The DPRK was and is known to be working on duel purpose civil and primarily military Communications satellites as well as ERTS and Weather satellites. So far the record is three failed satellite launches involving several types of communications satellites.

The North Korean communication satellite industry is new with little identified about it publicly. Several years ago it was suggested that North Korea intended to launch a communications satellite in addition to a weather satellite and ERTS earth resources satellite. The development of these systems and technology was likely a product of both internal research and development and international cooperation, with Iran among others.

The fact that North Korea was committed as of 2009 to this type of satellite development rather than manned space flight or space research suggested to observers that the space program was a cover for missile development for other purposes, or other dual civilian-military purposes. A desire for complete autonomy was also suggested. Regional allies and friendly neighbors such as the Russians and Chinese could easily have provided communications, weather and ERTS satellite technology or services. In a country with strictly rationed power, communications were not seen as a major priority for the population at large.

 



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