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DPRK Launch Plans

The North's state-run news agency said 11 March 2022 that leader Kim Jong-un visited the regime's satellite launch site and ordered the expansion of the launching facility, that is capable of firing inter-continental ballistic rockets. Kim visited the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground which has been used to put a satellite in orbit. But the same facility can also be used to conduct various tests involving technology that requires similar to that used in ICBMs.

Kim reportedly inspected the site and ordered modernizing and expanding it to ensure that "various rockets could be launched to carry multi-purpose satellites, including a military reconnaissance satellite." Kim reportedly ordered the reconstruction of the launching ground zone and the facilities for the general assembly of rockets to "enable the launch of large carrier rockets." North Korea appears to be preparing to launch ICBMs on the pretext of reconnaissance satellite development.

South Korea and the United States announced on 11 March 2022 that North Korea's two recent ballistic missile launches were part of tests for a new intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM) system under the pretext of its space program. Seoul's Defense Ministry said that South Korea and the U.S. reached the conclusion after a close analysis of the North's two ballistic missile tests on February 27 and March 5, 2022.

The ministry said the two launches involved a new ICBM system that the North is developing, which was first unveiled during the Korean Workers Party parade on October 10, 2020. The ministry said the latest two tests did not demonstrate the range of an ICBM, but the North seemed to have conducted the launches to test elements of the new system ahead of a full-fledged launch at full range, potentially disguised as a space launch. North Korea claimed that it conducted the tests for the development of a reconnaissance satellite.

The First Five-Years development plan covers space activities for 2012 to 2016. (Choson Sinbo, 12 December 2012) The Second Space Development Five-Year Plan starting in 2017, will see more advanced space developments. In April 8, 2012, the general manager of Sohae SLC declared that North Korea "will launch a geostationary satellite in the near future", and that North Korea "will launch manned spacecrafts". To this end, Sohae was also designed to support very large 400t-class rockets. (Choson Sinbo, April 10, 2012 Press Release )

North Korean launch schedule

PlanDate Payload Launcher Launchpad
20122016Earth observation Unha-4 TBD
20122016Earth observation Unha-5 TBD
20122016Communication Unha-6 TBD
20122016Communication Unha-7 TBD
20122016Communication Unha-8 TBD
20122016Lunar orbiter Unha-9 TBD
20172021Geostationary communication satellite TBD TBD
20172021Manned spacecraft TBD TBD
Soure: North Korean Space Program Thread

DPRK Space Launch Vehicles

© By Charles P. Vick (All Rights Reserved)

Senior Technical Analyst,

10-21-09/11-5-12, 4-2-2013

North Korea has developed two basic satellite launch vehicles. They are the Taep’o-dong-1/“Paektusan-1” no longer in production pathfinder launch vehicle design and the Taep’o-dong-2/“Paektusan-2”/ Unha-2 (Galaxy) ballistic missile space booster presently in prototype production and flight testing. None have successfully orbit satellites as of October 2009.

Unha-1, Taep'o-dong-1

The North KoreanTaep-o-dong-2B/Unha-3 revised booster that sports a new liquid propellant third stage apparently derived from Unha-1 booster design.

Comparisons North Korean (DPRK) and Iranian ballistic missiles & Space boosters through 2013

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Page last modified: 11-03-2022 17:10:44 ZULU