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North Korea vows to become 'space power' as Kim Jong-un orders test of new rocket engines

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The regime conducted two tests of new rocket engines at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in December 2019. High-resolution satellite images have detected that North Korea are extending their satellite launch facilities. New construction activity has been detected at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in March 2020.

Satellite images showed a large shipping container at the Sohae site’s engine test stand.

Observers announced that this could indicate a plan to resume testing rocket engines.

This has alarmed the US and South Korea over the use of these new rocket engines to power nuclear warhead armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

After conducting its first nuclear test in 2006 North Korea came under UN sanctions.

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International observers are now keeping a watchful eye on activity around the country’s launch sites as a surprise launch is a high possibility.

At the weekend state-run television aired a programme that celebrated the communist state’s space program and satellite engineers.

State broadcaster Korean Central Television, KCTV, aired a program on 5 September that portrayed supreme leader Kim Jong-un as having “love” for the country’s space scientists.

State media declared the country will “continue launching satellites for a peaceful purpose and emerge a space power to be envied by the world”.

The television program was called “Love’s Golden Cushion” and it explained the nation’s two recent satellite launches.

The scientists involved in North Korea’s spacefaring initiatives were shown to live in lavish surroundings in the recent television documentary.

The countries space program began in the 1990s with the development of the Kwangmyongsong 1 satellite.

Although Pyongyang celebrated the launch as their first successful satellite launch, internationally it was not detected to have attained orbit.

The last satellite launch by North Korea was in February 2016 when the Kwangmyongsong 4 satellite reached orbit.



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