North Korea Appears Nearly Done Building Big Missile Structure

North Korea's Unha 3 space rocket lifts off in December 2012, in an image released by official state media. Recent satellite images of the country's Dochang-ri missile site indicate work is almost finished on a tower big enough to handle rockets larger than the one Pyongyang successfully launched into space more than a year ago.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Rachel Oswald
Feb. 6, 2014, 9:52 a.m.

North Korea ap­pears to be al­most done build­ing a launch tower tall enough to handle fir­ing rock­ets even lar­ger than one suc­cess­fully launched in 2012.

The con­struc­tion pro­gress could have im­plic­a­tions for the isol­ated na­tion’s abil­ity to test po­ten­tial long-range mis­siles cap­able of car­ry­ing nuc­le­ar pay­loads, though North Korea is not known to have mastered the tech­no­logy to do so.

“Re­cent com­mer­cial satel­lite im­agery in­dic­ates that North Korea is near­ing com­ple­tion of modi­fic­a­tions to the gantry at the launch pad of the So­hae Satel­lite Launch­ing Sta­tion,” said im­age ex­pert Nick Hansen in a Thursday ana­lys­is pos­ted on the spe­cial­ist web­site “38 North.” So­hae is also known as the Dongchang-ri mis­sile launch com­plex.

An 11th level can now be seen in the im­ages, which gives the tower enough height to al­low fir­ing rock­ets as tall as 50 meters, which would be nearly 70 per­cent longer than the space rock­et North Korea suc­cess­fully launched in Decem­ber 2012, ac­cord­ing to Hansen.

He pro­jec­ted the al­ter­a­tions to the Dongchang-ri launch plat­form could be wrapped up next month or in April if con­struc­tion con­tin­ues apace.

“The pad will then be avail­able for ad­di­tion­al launches, prob­ably of the Unha 3 rock­et or a slightly longer vari­ant, such as the Unha 9, which was first dis­played as a mod­el in 2012,” he wrote.

While North Korea claims its past launches of the Unha 3 space vehicle have been peace­ful, much of the world views them as a likely cov­er for tests of in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­siles.

What We're Following See More »
THE PLAN ALL ALONG?
Manchin Drops Objections, Clearing Way for Spending Deal
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."

Source:
UNCLEAR WHAT CAUSED CHANGE OF HEART
Giuliani Out of Running For State
1 days ago
BREAKING

Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.

Source:
ALSO VICE-CHAIR OF TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM
Trump Taps Rep. McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary
1 days ago
BREAKING
SHUTDOWN LOOMING
House Approves Spending Bill
2 days ago
BREAKING

The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.

HEADS TO OBAMA
Senate Approves Defense Bill
2 days ago
THE LATEST

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login