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December 12, 2012

North Korean Satellite Lauch Reveals Unreliable Sat Imagery

My congratulations to the people of North Korea for the successful launch of a satellite into earth orbit. To do so is a great engineering achievement for any nation. Especially when under sanctions and thereby restricted in sourcing.

Including North Korea only ten nations at all so far succeeded in launching satellites.

This launch also gave a lesson in the unreliability of satellite pictures and anonymous sources. Only yesterday the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported:

SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has removed a long-range rocket from the launch pad in an apparent effort to fix technical problems that forced the communist nation to extend a launch window by a week, a military source in Seoul said Tuesday.

According to analysis of the latest satellite imagery, the North has taken the three stages of the Unha-3 rocket off the launch pad and moved them into a nearby assembly line at Dongchang-ri in the country's northwest, the source said.

"It seems that North Korea has pulled down the rocket from the launch pad to fix technical problems," the source said, asking for anonymity.

One can not remove a big rocket from its launch pad, repair it and put it back within 24 hours. Indeed when South Korea's own attempt for a satellite launch, with the first rocket stage bought from Russia, was delayed in October the expected delay was much longer:
According to the Yonhap news agency, engineers will remove the two-stage rocket from the launch pad to replace a seal, delaying the launch at least three days.
The South Korean satellite rocket launch was delayed several times and, if successful, will only happen next year. The North won the local race to space.

Those satellite pictures of the North Korean launch site and/or the anonymous military source were obviously wrong.

Keep that in mind the next time someone claims to know what happens under "pink tarps" based on a satellite pictures or claims to know why people are landscaping certain areas from looking at satellite imagery.

Posted by b on December 12, 2012 at 11:14 UTC | Permalink


is the west going to slap sanctions on Nkorea for this?
what is this satellite for? what could they used it for (an English TV channel to educate the west?, spying on US fleets? rocket guidance?, just beeping like sputnik 1?, weather prediction?)

Posted by: simon | Dec 12 2012 11:41 utc | 1

Apparently they misinterpreted the sudden disappearing of the rocket as a move to a nearby building, instead of a move into orbit. Eh? At any rate, North Korea gets international condemnation for this technical feat. In a reasonable world, naturally, congratulations would be in order. Envy is the word.

Posted by: Alexander | Dec 12 2012 12:15 utc | 2

Sour grapes all around.The hypocrisy of those "concerned" is just breathtaking.

The US just conducted a NUCLEAR TEST recently and not a word of condemnation came out of the distinguished,concerned "civilized" world.

North Korea just gave them the middle finger and they're all hyperventilating.

I mean, who decides who gets to launch/doesn't launch rockets into space?

Posted by: Zico | Dec 12 2012 13:48 utc | 3

Any confirmation that the North Korean satellite is successfully in orbit? Didn't see it from the linked articles, just that rocket launching worked out.

Posted by: RedMaistre | Dec 12 2012 17:29 utc | 4

Pyongyang hails rocket launch as a success

"North Korea says it has test-fired a long-range rocket and has successfully placed a satellite into orbit."

Posted by: вот так | Dec 12 2012 17:38 utc | 5

@ RedMaistre

"The rocket, launched at 09:49 local time (00:49 GMT), appears to have followed its planned trajectory, with stages falling in expected areas.

North Korea says a satellite has been placed in orbit; the US confirmed an object had been put into space." BBC

Posted by: Harry | Dec 12 2012 17:39 utc | 6

@Harry Well hopefully it is confirmed as a bone fide sattelite, it would be a shame if they isolated themselves further for just another demostration that they can fire missles. I wonder how long a North Korean Sattelite would be allowed to stay in orbit, I'm assuming the US will have no qualms about shooting it down.

Posted by: RedMastre | Dec 12 2012 17:47 utc | 7

You can track the satellite there:

Posted by: Harry | Dec 12 2012 17:52 utc | 8

@Harry Fascinating, Thanks!

Posted by: RedMastre | Dec 12 2012 17:55 utc | 9

This video report has more info and discusses the hypocrisy surrounding western towards the NK space program. It's unfortunate that such reporting is no longer allowed in the west.

North Korea’s successfully launches satellite

Posted by: вот так | Dec 12 2012 18:00 utc | 10


a rocket that can carry a nuke to japan

Posted by: nikon | Dec 12 2012 18:56 utc | 11

The White House called the launch a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security," somehow neglecting to mention that the US and its ROK puppet have been conducting provocative acts that threaten regional security for many years including so-called "war games" that are a violation of the Armistice Agreement.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 12 2012 21:08 utc | 12

Not to state the obvious, but… Geo-politically, I wouldn’t rejoice too much with this launch. The North Koreans gave China a bloody nose (China had clearly asked to postpone the launch). And it gives the belligerent forces in the US more ammunition to accelerate the ‘Asian Pivot’ and pressure their allies to spend more on expensive arms systems. ’cause, technically NoKo can now launch missiles that reach the US mainland. On the other hand, as a missile it is not really useful, being a liquid fuel vehicle that needs weeks to prepare for launch.

Nevertheless, congrats to the North Koreans (and the Iranians ?) for the technological feat, though. And for worsening a bloody mess.


a rocket that can carry a nuke to japan

The good old Nodong missiles have been able to that for quite a while (and targeting SoKo, and China, Russia…). Nothing new under the sun.

(sidenote - I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘Western’ nations – Japan & US in this case – were relieved that this rocket flew correctly all the way. Japan had deployed their Pac3 batteries and Aegis ships on high alert, just in case. They didn't need to use them and run the risk of demonstrating that those things aren’t working all that well.)

Posted by: Philippe | Dec 13 2012 2:04 utc | 13

Uppity friggin' slant eyes. Don't these heathens realize how hard we're working to keep them in the dark ages???

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 13 2012 3:18 utc | 14

Enthusiastic announcement of the successful launch on North Korean TV

Posted by: b | Dec 13 2012 8:20 utc | 15

the downside is more junk in orbit:

Space debris, also known as orbital debris, space junk, and space waste, is the collection of objects in orbit around Earth that were created by humans but no longer serve any useful purpose. These objects consist of everything from spent rocket stages and defunct satellites to erosion, explosion and collision fragments. As the orbits of these objects often overlap the trajectories of newer objects, debris is a potential collision risk to operational spacecraft.

The vast majority of the estimated tens of millions of pieces of space debris are small particles, less than 1 centimetre (0.39 in). These include dust from solid rocket motors, surface degradation products such as paint flakes, and coolant released by RORSAT nuclear powered satellites. Impacts of these particles cause erosive damage, similar to sandblasting. This damage can be partly mitigated through the use of the "meteor bumper", which is widely used on spacecraft such as the International Space Station. However, not all parts of a spacecraft may be protected in this manner, e.g. solar panels and optical devices (such as telescopes, or star trackers), and these components are subject to constant wear by debris (and to a much lesser extent, micrometeoroids).


Posted by: brian | Dec 13 2012 21:08 utc | 16

This brought a smile:

Kim Jong Un voted Person of the Year in TIME poll

"A majority of online readers of TIME magazine have selected North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as their pick for the annual "Person of the Year."

He won by a wide margin - with about 5.6 million people voting for him. American satirist Jon Stewart was in second place with 2.4 million votes. In third place was a collective image of an illegal immigrant, with a million and a half votes.

The magazine said that it had been the target of campaigns, which pushed Kim's vote up.

It should be noted that the choice of the influential magazine, to be announced December 19, is not based on readers’ opinions – the selection is made by editors of TIME. Often, the choice of readers and editors fails to coincide."

And this despite all that unified hate messaging in the occupied and fascist media in the west.

The last bit in the story about people's voting being irrelevant and disregarded by the editors when the voters don't follow the fascist/zionist script is western "democracy" in microcosm.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 14 2012 0:32 utc | 17

Kim Jong Un should make a Gangnam Style video for youtube. He would clean up.

Posted by: dh | Dec 14 2012 0:38 utc | 18

Posted by: вот так | Dec 13, 2012 7:32:04 PM | 17

very interesting! at least it show Kim Jong un(KingJohn?) has a a good strong band of supporters, whereas Obama and the rest of the americans have not

Posted by: brian | Dec 14 2012 5:56 utc | 19

one more for the road

Posted by: denk | Dec 14 2012 6:31 utc | 20

It sure is nice that N Korea is worrying about launching satellites when a great number of its population is still starving-kinda like here in Claifornia where govenor Brown is worried about a bullet train for California transportation when we can't even keep our people in there houses and pay for our school systems-brillant people indeed!

Posted by: bill | Dec 14 2012 15:38 utc | 21

brilliant indeed

Posted by: denk | Dec 14 2012 17:09 utc | 22

"It sure is nice that N Korea is worrying about launching satellites when a great number of its population is still starving"

Not that I really doubt that NK is a total shambles


I also am very aware that the sources for reports of starvation in NK are mainly, as far as I know, "The Usual Suspects" - Western Gov'ts, their whores in the Western Media, the Western-controlled UN and, what are laughably known as, "NGO"s

As Jean Bricmont said about NGOs - "It's the 'N' I object to"

Posted by: ONS | Dec 14 2012 17:48 utc | 23

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