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Satellite finds N.Korea prepping for long-range rocket launch

Satellite finds N.Korea prepping for long-range rocket launch

Posted November. 26, 2012 07:43,   


Arirang 3, South Korea`s third earth observation satellite launched in May, is known to have found North Korea preparing for a long-distance rocket launch at a missile base in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, said a high-ranking government official in Seoul Sunday.

"Arirang 3 along with a U.S. reconnaissance satellite found that a train carrying alleged missile parts departed from a weapons plant near Pyongyang and headed for the Tongchang-ri base," the official said.

Intelligence authorities in both South Korea and the U.S. analyzed satellite video from Seoul and Washington and judged that Pyongyang has began missile launch preparations.

After the North`s launch of a long-distance rocket failed in April, Arirang 3 found that Pyongyang conducted combustion experiments a number of times at a rocket launch site in the Tongchang-ri base, and shared the information with the U.S.

A high-ranking South Korean official said, "We had depended on the U.S. for information on North Korea`s nuclear weapons and missile base conditions. With Arirang 3 in operation, however, South Korea has ramped up its ability to gather video data."

Launched at the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan in May, Arirang 3 has a 70-centimeter-level electro-optical camera to accurately identify the directions of vehicles on roads. Revolving around the earth 14.5 times a day on an orbit 685 kilometers up from land, it passes the skies of the Korean Peninsula twice a day and films the entire peninsula, including major North Korean areas, via digital video.