Rocket Man Is at It Again

Last Sunday, North Korea launched yet another two ballistic missiles from its northwestern Tongchang-RI area, further ratcheting tensions on the Korean peninsula. The dual launch comes days after the hermit state announced the successful launch of a new solid-fuel rocket that would be used in future missile systems. The pair flew about 310 miles downrange, reaching a maximum altitude of roughly 340 miles before splashing down in the Sea of Japan (known to the North Koreans as the “Korean East Sea”).

The latest launch prompted an emergency meeting of South Korea’s National Security Council.

One of the pair of rockets launched on the 18th making its way to low earth orbit. Screenshot from Twitter and 9News Australia.

The North Korean government acknowledged that the launch was an important step towards deploying their first-ever spy satellite, a long-time goal of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. In a somewhat weak attempt to impress the world with their accomplishment, Pyongyang released low-resolution images of two South Korean cities, Incheon and Seoul. Odds are the technologically advanced South Koreans were not overly impressed with the images you see below.

These images of Incheon and Seoul appeared in Monday’s edition of Rodong Sinmum (로동신문), the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of North Korea.

The images above were released by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA). As reported in The Washington Post, KCNA stated the test launches were to evaluate the satellite’s photography and data transmission systems. In that respect, the tests were apparently successful. North Korea’s counterpart to NASA is the National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA), and they label the results of the mission as “an important success which has gone through the final gateway process of the launch of reconnaissance satellite.” NADA states that they are working on completing final preparations for their first military reconnaissance satellite by April of 2023, only a few short months away.