North Korea's first spy satellite successfully orbits

Written by Jeppe W

Nov.22 - 2023 12:41 PM CET

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North Korea has reportedly achieved a significant milestone in its space program by successfully placing its first spy satellite, Malligyong-1, into orbit.

The launch, which occurred on Tuesday from the Sohae satellite launch facility, was announced by the North Korean National Aerospace Technology Administration and reported by the state news agency KCNA.

According to the KCNA, the launch vehicle was airborne at 10:42 pm local time and the satellite entered its orbit approximately 12 minutes later.

The North Korean space agency has indicated plans to send multiple spy satellites into space shortly, aiming to enhance surveillance over South Korea and other areas of strategic importance to Pyongyang's military interests.

The launch has sparked widespread international concern, particularly among North Korea’s neighbors and the United States. Officials in South Korea and Japan, the latter of which was first to report the launch, stated that they were yet to confirm the satellite's placement in orbit.

This announcement follows North Korea’s prior notifications to Japan about a planned satellite launch between November 22 and December 1.

Earlier attempts by North Korea to launch spy satellites this year had failed, but recent reports suggested the country was preparing for another attempt. The successful launch of Malligyong-1 marks a significant development in North Korea's space ambitions.

The United States and its allies have condemned the launch, with the White House labeling it a “brazen violation” of United Nations resolutions. US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson criticized the launch for raising tensions and potentially destabilizing the regional and global security situation.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also expressed strong disapproval, stating that Japan had already lodged a firm protest against North Korea.

Despite these international criticisms, North Korea asserts its sovereign right to develop military satellites, viewing them as a critical component in countering the military capabilities of the US and its allies.

As global scrutiny intensifies, North Korea’s advancement in satellite technology is seen as a pivotal moment in the nation’s military and technological evolution, further complicating the geopolitical dynamics in the region.

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