Satellites show major modernization of North Korea space base

Seoul, Oct 27 (EFE).- The North Korean Sohae space launch base shows a great modernization process, according to an analysis published Thursday by specialized website Beyond Parallel based on satellite photos taken this week.

According to the study, these modernization plans will provide North Korea with a facility capable of launching “larger and more sophisticated space rockets and supporting the development of technology that can also be used in emerging intercontinental ballistic missile programs” of the regime.

Kim Jong-un visited Sohae in March and asked to expand the launch area and improve the general assembly and fuel injection and supply facilities, or the launch control center to be able to launch “larger carrier rockets” and deploy new reconnaissance satellites.

The analysis of the specialized website, attached to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the construction process is continuing, especially in the eastern fringe of the Sohae base, where the construction of a tunnel or an underground facility whose future use is unknown.

The photos were taken Tuesday and contrasted with others taken 20 days earlier. They show that, in addition to the works to enlarge and modernize the launch area, the warehouses for fuel and oxidant are being expanded, coolant tanks or new logistics support buildings and destroying and renovating other buildings in the complex.

Right now, this activity makes it impossible to carry out any launches, according to the analysis signed by Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun, although the vertical platform used to test engines appears to be in a “fully functional” state.

In addition to launching space rockets, Sohae is also the North Korean regime’s main test bed for its liquid-fuel engines, especially those used in its missiles.

North Korea, which has refused to resume dialogue with South Korea or the United States after the failure of the Hanoi summit in 2019, has been completely isolated from the outside since the start of the pandemic and in January 2021 approved a plan of modernization of weapons in which the works in Sohae would be framed.

The satellites have also shown that Pyongyang has been preparing for months to carry out a new atomic test in Punggye-ri. EFE


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