North Korea has successfully placed its second satellite into a polar orbit using their newer version of the UnHa-3 rocket to launch what they are calling the KwangMyungSong-4 satellite. The satellite and its third-stage rocket booster are both being tracked by NORAD which is showing a near prefect circular and polar orbit.
Since the first North Korean satellite launched in December 2012 tumbled uncontrollably, our collective think-tanks’ analysis had always been that North Korea was never able to communicate with that satellite. Yet it is humbly apparent that they did in fact learn from its failures. This second satellite is, for now, orbiting over the poles about every 94 minutes with its third stage booster somewhere near it.
There is fascinating video of the actual launch yesterday at the Sohae facility yesterday already uploaded by North Korea to Youtube. And yes, the rocket side is painted in very clearly Korean “Un Ha 3”:
Please note that the UnHa-3 rocket is a version of the TaePoDong-2 ICBM missile. Technically, what makes a satellite payload differ from a warhead payload is the ability to re-enter earth’s atmosphere downrange. Thus, whenever these so-called satellites turn into re-entry vehicles, without burning up their payloads, that is when they become true ICBMs. The only remaining obstacle for the North Koreans – and their partners the Iranians – to overcome and declare themselves nuclear states is to successfully re-enter an intact payload of any kind. Remember, a nuclear state does not have to test nuclear weapons to become a nuclear power. Israel didn’t test anything, but followed France’s testing of nukes. Iran is following Israel’s lead and helping North Korea to fully test and develop its nuclear weapons.
AND SO… is the North Korean orbiting object just a satellite? Or are they perfecting a re-entry vehicle? Some speculation persists that the tumbling of the first satellite was the result of it trying to re-enter instead of communicate. Speculating that further now in tandem with North Korea and their allies Iran having already developed a miniaturized nuclear bomb to feasibly put into any successful re-entry vehicle just last month, the remaining one question is really superfluous one: satellite or re-entry vehicle?
Could the North Korean Nuclear Test be a Game Changer for Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program?
ICBMs don’t come cheap but since North Korea’s cooperation with Iran is most likely for Iran’s benefit instead of just having them there as interested observers, North Korea reaps the rewards also:
Which does beg the question, that if Iran can still get a 150 Billion dollar windfall by pretending to not be pursuing nuclear weapons that North Korea has already developed for them, then why can’t North Korea get some of that action also? A former US president, who is the undisputed sanctimonious king of understatement, Bill Clinton, said rather famously when he was asked about the wisdom of giving North Korea not one, but two nuclear reactors, which have since obviously been used to produce plenty of fissile material for bomb-making: “That’s a no-brainer!” Well, duh.