North Korea aims to become a major space power. It is currently in the final stage of preparations to send rockets and “multiple satellites” into the outer space, according to two senior directors of the country’s National Aeronautical Development Association (NADA) during an exclusive interview with CNN.
According to CNN’s Will Ripley and Tim Schwarz, the North Korean government’s newly opened satellite control center is located in Pyongyang, and it looks like the Starship Enterprise from the outside. North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un inspected the satellite control center in May.
The CNN reporters were the first foreign media allowed to visit the complex but were not allowed to see the interior of the satellite control center. They conducted the interview in a parking lot outside the main building where tables, chairs, and bottles of water were laid out. North Korea is suspicious about the motives of reporters from “hostile” nations.
North Korea to conduct a peaceful space exploration
During the interview, NADA senior directors Hyon Gwang II and Kim Gun Song and two other scientists emphasized that the primary objective of North Korea is to conduct a peaceful exploration. They also expressed “outrage” regarding the continuing speculation that they are operating a secret program to develop a ballistic missile.
Hyon Gwang II, the director of scientific development at NADA said they are working very hard to develop multi-functional, highly-reliable Earth observation satellites in the shortest possible time under the direction of Kim Jong-un.,
“We are trying to show to the world how patriotic we are, and how creative we are as scientists,” said Mr. Hyon.
According to Mr. Hyon, they are making progress in different areas in recent weeks. The scientists are updating the satellite launch site to ensure that it can carry a better satellite on a more reliable basis. He added that they already finished their work of perfecting the control system for launching satellites into the outer space.
The NADA scientists said they prepared multiple satellites, and they are now in the “final stages of perfecting all operations.” They are currently focusing on interlocking the satellite orbit with other systems.
North Korea placed a Kwangmyongsong 3-2, an observation satellite in the Earth’s orbit in December. Outside observers said North Korea put the placed the satellite in an unstable orbit and became a “space junk” because it cannot transmit information
The North Korean scientists said the satellite was functional earlier this year, but they admitted that they are experiencing “problems with communication and data transmission.”
North Korea aims to become a major space power
According to them, they learned from their previous satellite launches and claimed that their technology is constantly improving. North Korea claimed of launching satellites in 1998 and 2009.
The North Korean scientists also pointed out that their work does not pose a threat to opposing nations particularly the United States.
Kim Gung Song, in-charge of the satellite control center, explained that North Korea is launching Earth observation satellites as soon as possible. He emphasized that those satellites would be beneficial to the country’s economy, and it would improve the living standards of North Koreans.
Mr. Hyon also emphasized that their ultimate goal is to make North Korea a major space power. He added that they were not aiming for a particular date to launch the satellites. There were speculations that the satellite launching will probably occur during the upcoming Party Foundation Day on October 10.
He emphasized that launching a satellite involves a difficult procedure, and it requires concentration of all important scientific and technological aspects particularly cutting edge science. Mr. Hyon said, “This important scientific work is not something that you must implement on a particular day.”
North Korea is committed to catching up in the space race. Kim Gun Song said, “We are developing satellite technology, we are exploring outer space, not because we are in a very good position, well off economically. We still have a lot of economic problems. Even today we are tightening our belts to survive and to improve. All the same, we are investing a lot into this space program. We will continue, regardless of what people say.”