Sunday, May 3, 2015

North Korea Unveils New Satellite Control Center

DigitalGlobe satellite image of the Tongchang-ri Launch Facility in North Korea on April 9, 2012. Credit: DigitalGlobe

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited a newly built satellite control and command center, saying his country will continue developing space technology despite international sanctions. North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency reported it Sunday without saying when Kim visited the center. North Korea is under U.N. sanctions for its launch of rockets that the international community considers to be ballistic missiles. U.N. resolutions also ban the communist state from conducting nuclear tests, something North Korea has done three times over the past decade. Some analysts believe Pyongyang possesses tens of nuclear weapons.

"Peaceful space development is an option taken by our Party and people and a legitimate right of Songun Korea," Kim said while touring the center of the National Aerospace Development Administration, according to the KCNA. "The status of the DPRK as a satellite producer-launcher remains unchanged though the hostile forces deny it and its space development can never be abandoned, no matter who may oppose."

DPRK stands for North Korea's official name: Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Songun, which literally means military first, is North Korea's official policy that prioritizes strengthening the military while concurrently developing the economy.

Kim lauded his father and late leader Kim Jong-il, saying the senior Kim "ushered in the new history of space development and brought about the greatest event of satellite launch in the Korean nation's history of 5,000 years."

North Korea will continue its efforts to emerge as "a space power and thus hand down the undying feats of the Generalissimo (Kim Jong-il) to posterity," he said, stressing the need to "provide more cutting-edge facilities for the centre, build a base in which satellite test can be done in the same circumstances with outer space and erect something symbolic of the centre."

Inside the center is a main room where satellite launches can be viewed in real time, an auxiliary display and control room, an optical observation room that meets scientific and technological requirements, and a room for visitors to watch satellite launches, the report said.

An e-library, lounge, conference room, offices, dining room and bedrooms were also built to meet scientists' and technicians' research and living needs, according to the report.

In 2012 North Korea launched a satellite into orbit after a number of botched attempts.

1 comment:

  1. What if North Korea was announcing that now a North Korean man, the first human, has set his foot on Mars? Like the Russian have done with Sputnik and Juri Gagarin in the 60's!

    That would be the start on a new space race.