Satellite Image: North Korea Prepares for Its Upcoming Rocket Launch

A glimpse of the Sohae launch facility where North Korea is readying its next satellite-bearing rocket

121204-sohae-01-570x713.jpg

NorthKoreaTech.org

Journalist Martyn Williams of NorthKoreaTech.org has tracked down images from a GeoEye satellite, taken this morning in North Korea, that show a rocket-launch facility in the isolated country where preparations for a rocket launch are under way. As Williams writes, "It's sadly not possible to get a live look at North Korea's Sohae launch facility, but we do have the next best thing: a satellite image from earlier today."

In the image, broken out into a close-up below, you can see four objects of some kind on the launch pad itself, and more on the road. A circular path surrounds the pad. Similar images, taken two weeks ago, showed "a new tent, trucks, people and numerous portable fuel/oxidizer tanks," according to DigitalGlobe, another satellite-imagery provider.

Once upon a time, retrieving a bird's-eye-view of land behind enemy lines was a technological feat worthy of awe and the recipient of substantial military R&D. Today our surveillance capacities have expanded so much that images like this are mundane. We can just navigate over to NorthKoreaTech.org and see a launch pad in remote northern North Korea, as it was just a few hours ago as photographed from space.

121204-sohae-02-570x318.jpg

The changes are visible confirmation of what North Korea announced last week: Sometime between December 10 and 22, the country will attempt to launch a Kwangmyongsong 3 satellite into orbit. A similar effort failed earlier this year. "The DPRK plans to launch another working satellite, second version of Kwangmyongsong-3, manufactured by its own efforts and with its own technology, true to the behests of leader Kim Jong Il," the state news agency reported.


H/t @pbump.

Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Technology

Just In