North Korea finishes advanced recon satellite

SpaceDaily.com reports: “South Korean newspapers have reported that their neighbor to the north has completed development of a new reconnaissance satellite, the first that will enable North Korea to transmit data to Earth.

JoongAng Ilbo, a Seoul daily newspaper and one of the nation’s largest, reported that an anonymous South Korean government source told them about the impending launch of the new satellite, which has the capability to deploy from a mobile launcher.

The satellite has been named Kwangmyongsong-5, the Korean word for ‘Lode Star,’ a reference to the star that apparently shone across the sky on the day of the birth of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. As the name suggests, it is the fifth in a series of observation satellites that North Korea claims are meant for weather forecasting.

But as with previous Kwangmyongsongs, it is feared that the launch of the fifth will be a long-range ballistic missile test disguised as a satellite flight. Such allegations were made by South Korea, Japan, the US and the UN following the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 in February 2016.

Compounding the controversy, all four previous Kwangmyongsong launches passed over Japan – and the rocket used to launch the latter three satellites was extremely similar to the design of North Korea’s Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile…”

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