North Korea tests fires first spy satellite, a day after launching ballistic missiles

A day after firing two ballistic missiles, North Korean state agency on Monday confirmed that an ‘important, final phase’ test for the development of a first-of-its-kind spy satellite that Kim Jong-un wants to be readied by April 2023 was completed. 

According to KCNA, National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) conducted the satellite test at the Sohae satellite launching station in Cholsan, North Pyongan province. 

“We confirmed important technical indicators such as camera operating technology in the space environment, data processing and transmission ability of the communication devices, tracking and control accuracy of the ground control system,” said NADA, adding that the launch took from a ‘lofted angle to an altitude of 500 kilometres.  

It termed the results “an important success which has gone through the final gateway process of the launch of reconnaissance satellite.” 

Two black-and-white, low-resolution images of Seoul and Incheon, the two big cities in South Korea were captured by the satellite. However, experts analysing the photos said they were of extremely low-quality given the military standards.  

On Sunday, the South Korean military claimed that Pyongyang had fired an “unidentified ballistic missile” towards the sea off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast. 

“North Korea’s ballistic missiles were launched at steep angles and landed in the East Sea,” it added. 

Notably, the South Korean presidential office in a statement said that Seoul convened a National Security Council (NSC) meeting over the missile launch and “strongly condemned” Pyongyang for escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Reports stated that the missile was fueled by a high-thrust solid-fuel engine which will allow the North to facilitate quicker and more mobile launch of such ballistic missiles. 

Throughout the year, North Korea has carried an unprecedented launch of ballistic missiles with heavy rhetoric from Kim Jong-un and his sister Kim Yo-jong. Despite repeated condemnation from US and its allies, North Korea has refused to tame its missile programme. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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