Major construction at NKorea rocket site, US institute says

May 28, 2015, 9:48 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Satellite imagery shows significant new construction at North Korea’s main rocket launch site in a sign of leader Kim Jong Un’s determination to pursue a space program despite international censure, a U.S. research institute said Thursday.

North Korea is barred under U.N. Security Council resolutions from launching rockets as that technology can also be used to launch ballistic missiles. Kim, however, declared this month that its space program “can never be abandoned.”

North Korea has been upgrading the Sohae launch site on its west coast since mid-2013 after it blasted its first rocket into space in December 2012. It says the space program is peaceful.

The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies says the North completed an expansion of its launch tower late last year to take larger rockets. Commercial satellite imagery shows that since then, the North has been working on a support building and what appears to be a moveable platform to allow an assembled rocket to be shifted on rails to the launch pad. The institute likens it to facilities in China but says there’s no publicly available evidence to suggest Beijing is providing help.

The most recent image is from May 16.

“The Sohae facility upgrade program represents a significant investment of financial, material and personnel resources and is another indicator, along with its public statements, that North Korea is determined to pursue its space program,” read the analysis provided to The Associated Press ahead of publication on the institute’s website, 38 North.

Satellite imagery analyst Tim Brown writes that the expansion of the launch tower suggests the North wants to field a larger space launch vehicle, which may also contribute to its development of long-range ballistic missiles.

Concern is rising over North Korea’s weapons development. The North recently claimed it tested a new type of missile from a submarine and reiterated that it had built a nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on a long-range missile. Outside analysts are skeptical about both claims, but they believe the North has built a small but growing nuclear bomb arsenal and advanced its missile program since international nuclear disarmament talks stalled in early 2009.

In Seoul on Wednesday, nuclear envoys from South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed on the need to increase pressure on North Korea and urged the country to engage in serious negotiations on its nuclear weapons program.

The North’s unpredictable leader, Kim, has closely associated himself with the space program. In early May, state media reported Kim inspected a newly-built satellite control and command center, but didn’t specify the location. Kim was quoted as saying the North would launch satellites into space at the time and locations chosen by the ruling party.

The December 2012 launch propelled a satellite into space, but U.S. officials said it soon tumbled out of control in orbit.

There is speculation that North Korea could mark the 70th anniversary this October of the ruling Korean Workers Party with a rocket launch. The institute says it would be difficult to complete construction at the launch site by then, but the North could go ahead with a launch by pausing construction and using the existing facilities at Sohae.

____

Online:

http://38north.org/

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Technology

Commuters wait as a train full of passengers arrives at the South Station Red Line subway stop, Wed...
Associated Press

Transit woes mount for Boston’s beleaguered subway riders

BOSTON (AP) — For Boston subway riders, it seems every week brings a new tale of transit woe. Runaway trains. Subway cars belching smoke and fire. Fatal accidents. Malfunctioning station escalators. Rush hour trains running on weekend schedules. Brand-new subway cars pulled from service. Derailed construction vehicles. The repeated chaos of the nation’s oldest subway […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Ex...
Associated Press

Musk says Twitter deal could move ahead with ‘bot’ info

Elon Musk said Saturday his planned $44 billion takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are ‘spam bots’ or real people. The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, […]
1 day ago
FILE - The Twitter application is seen on a digital device on April 25, 2022, in San Diego. A vulne...
Associated Press

Twitter breach exposed anonymous account owners

A vulnerability in Twitter’s software that exposed an undetermined number of owners of anonymous accounts to potential identity compromise last year was apparently exploited by a malicious actor, the social media company said Friday. It did not confirm a report that data on 5.4 million users was offered for sale online as a result but […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Friday 8/05/2022

Stocks are closing mostly lower Friday after new data on the hot U.S. jobs market suggested the Fed won’t soon rein in its aggressive rate hikes. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell, while the Dow Jones industrials notched a small gain. Employers unexpectedly accelerated their hiring last month and added hundreds of thousands more […]
2 days ago
This photo provided by Utah Department of Public Safety shows the scene of an accident involving a ...
Associated Press

US agency probes Tesla crashes that killed 2 motorcyclists

DETROIT (AP) — Two crashes involving Teslas apparently running on Autopilot are drawing scrutiny from federal regulators and point to a potential new hazard on U.S. freeways: The partially automated vehicles may not stop for motorcycles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent investigation teams to two crashes last month in which Teslas collided with […]
2 days ago
This July 22, 2019, photo taken from video gives a 360-degree view of Ramadan prayers on the platea...
Associated Press

From Mecca to the Vatican, exploring sacred sites with VR

Click and gape at the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel ceiling up close. Click again and join thousands of pilgrims praying and circling around the cube-shaped Kaaba at Islam’s most sacred site. Or strap on a headset and enter the holy city of Jerusalem. There you’ll hear the murmur of Jewish prayers at the Western Wall or […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Major construction at NKorea rocket site, US institute says