Satellite photos show huge modernization of space base in North Korea | International

An analysis led by the United States concluded that North Korea is expanding and modernizing the space launch base in Sohae: the vertical platform used for launches seems to be functional, coolant tanks are built and in addition to that a tunnel, or an underground building.

North Korea’s space launch base in Sohae shows major modernization processaccording to an analysis published this Thursday by the specialized website Beyond Parallel from satellite photos taken this week.

According to the study, these modernization plans will provide North Korea with facilities capable of launch “larger and more sophisticated” space rockets and to support the development of technology that can also be used in the emerging intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programs” of the regime.

Kim Jong-un visited Sohae (located in the northwest of the country, near the border with China) in March this year.

There he asked to expand the launch area, improve the general assembly, injection and fuel supply facilities, plus 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 (CSIS) in Washington, emphasized that the construction process continuesespecially in the eastern fringe of the Sohae base, where the construction of a tunnel or an underground facility whose future use is unknown is notable.

North Korean construction work in Sohae

The photos, taken on October 25 and contrasted with others taken 20 days earlier, show that, in addition to the works to enlarge and modernize the launch area, warehouses for fuel and oxidant are being expanded.

A) Yes, North Korea is building coolant tanks or new logistics support buildingsdestroying other facilities – such as the satellite control center – and renovating other buildings in the complex.

Right now this activity makes it impossible to carry out any launch, according to the analysis signed by Joseph Bermúdez, Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun.

However, 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 that can be used in its ICBM missiles.

North Korea, which has refused to resume dialogue with South Korea or the US after the failure of the Hanoi summit in 2019, has been completely isolated from the outside since the start of the pandemic.

In January 2021, the regime approved a weapons modernization plan 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 (northeast of the country).

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