North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Korea Committee for Space Technology Considers “Readjusting” U’nha-3 Launch Time

A satellite image shows North Korea is preparing fuel injection to fire off a long-range rocket in the launch site in the nation's northwestern area. (Yonhap)

A satellite image shows North Korea is preparing fuel injection to fire off a long-range rocket in the launch site in the nation’s northwestern area. (Yonhap)

DPRK state media reported on 8 December (Saturday) that a spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology [KCST] said that technicians and relevant experts at the Sohae Satellite Launch Station (Sohae Space Center) were “seriously examining the issue of readjusting the launching time of” the Kwangmyo’nso’ng-3 satellite and U’nha-3 carrier rocket “for some reasons.”  KCST originally scheduled the U’nha-3 launch from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm on any day during 10 December to 22 December.  AFP, citing the US-Korea Institute, reported that “that the preparations for the launch may have been delayed by heavy snow.”  The KCST spokesman’s remarks came after South Korean media reported that technicians at the Sohae Center may have begun the process of injecting fuel into the rocket.  In a 7 December report,  Yonhap quoted an unnamed South Korean government official who said satellite images showed that  “that the North is examining the rocket’s body and the observation post is inspecting the communications network,” but said “it is hard to detect the actual fuel injection because the fuel pipeline is installed underground.”

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