North Korea conducts ‘final stage test’ for spy satellite: report

SEOUL: North Korea conducted an “important final test” for the development of a spy satellite, which it will complete by April next year, state media said on Monday.
The report comes a day after The Seoul Army said it detected Pyongyang launches of two medium-range ballistic missiles, the North’s latest in a year of unprecedented weapons testing.
Analysts say developing such a satellite would provide North Korea with cover to test banned intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), as they share much of the same technology.
The launches were “an important final test for the development of a (a) reconnaissance satellite,” a spokesman for the North’s National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) said Monday, according to the Central News Agency. Korean official.
Conducted from the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in Tongchang-ri, Sunday’s test confirmed “important technical clues” including the operation of the camera in space and the data processing and transmission capabilities of communication devices.
State media also said the vehicle carrying the “test-piece” satellite – which included cameras, image transmitters and receivers, control devices and batteries – reached an altitude of 500 kilometers (311 miles) when fired at a high angle.
“NADA said this is a significant achievement that has gone through the final gateway process of launching a reconnaissance satellite,” the spokesperson said, adding that preparations will be completed by here April.
Rodong Sinmounthe official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, published two black-and-white photographs that appeared to show South Korea as seen from space.
The development of a military reconnaissance satellite was one of Pyongyang’s key defense projects outlined by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year.
Pyongyang carried out two launches earlier this year, saying it was testing components for a reconnaissance satellite, which the United States and South Korea said likely involved components from its new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile.
On Thursday, the North tested a “high-thrust solid-fuel engine” at the Sohae launch site, which analysts said would enable faster and more mobile ballistic missile launches.
All of Pyongyang’s known ICBMs are liquid-fuelled, and solid-fuelled ICBMs that can be launched from land or submarines are on Kim’s wish list revealed last year.
Kim, who has doubled down on banned weapons programs since nuclear talks collapsed in 2019, said this year he wants the North to have the world’s strongest nuclear force and said his country is a “Irreversible” nuclear state.
The United States and South Korea have been warning for months that Pyongyang is about to carry out its seventh nuclear test.
North Korea is under several UN Security Council sanctions on its nuclear and ballistic activity since 2006.


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