The launch of missiles on Sunday was done to test cameras and other equipment for future military satellites, North Korea said
North Korea claimed to have conducted a test of space reconnaissance equipment during a missile launch on Sunday. State media published what is purported to be images of the adjacent South Korean cities of Seoul and Incheon made during the test.
The space launch was conducted by the National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) from the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground and was an “important final-stage test” for the North Korean spy satellite program, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a statement on Monday.
The test confirmed the reliability of the onboard equipment “in the optimum environment simulating space environment” after it was launched “to the altitude of 500 km,” a spokesman for the North Korean space agency explained. The gear included a panoramic camera with “20m resolution,” two multispectral cameras, a video transmitter, and other pieces of technology, he added.
The experiment was described as “the final gateway” before a reconnaissance satellite is launched into orbit, which, the NADA claimed, may happen as soon as next April.
The KCNA also released black and white photos that were presumably taken during the test. South Korean media outlets said they appeared to show the part of Seoul where the presidential palace is located and the port in Incheon.
North Korea says it conducted an “important final-stage test” for the country’s first spy satellite. Says it will “finish preparations” by April.Pics via KCNA, which notably included what appear to be satellite photos of Incheon and central Seoul: pic.twitter.com/SVul4LC1HB
— William Gallo (@GalloVOA) December 18, 2022
On Sunday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported detecting two launches of medium-range ballistic missiles from the North Korean facility. They flew at steep trajectories and peaked at some 500km, the military said. Some commenters suggested that the main goal of the launches was to test rocket technology, contrary to what Pyongyang stated.
North Korea has conducted a record-large number of missile tests this year, with over 60 recorded by observers. Most of them were ballistic missiles, though in mid-October it reported testing two long-range cruise missiles that allegedly can carry tactical nuclear devices as the payload. Last Thursday, Pyongyang tested a high-thrust solid-fuel engine at the Sohae facility, according to a previous KCNA report.
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