North Korea claims it sent a spy satellite to orbit for 1st time: report (Image Credit: Space.com)
North Korean state media reports the nation has successfully placed its first spy satellite into orbit.
News of the satellite’s launch broke when South Korean and Japanese government officials issued warnings that a rocket had been lofted toward Japan on Tuesday (Nov. 21), sparking shelter-in-place warnings throughout the islands of Okinawa. Reuters now reports that North Korean state news agency KCNA says its Malligyong-1 satellite entered orbit at 10:54 p.m. local time (1354 GMT).
“The launch of reconnaissance satellite is a legitimate right of (North Korea) for strengthening its self-defensive capabilities,” KCNA announced, according to Reuters.
The United States has condemned the launch and has urged its international partners and allies to do the same, claiming it involves technologies that support the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile program.
In a statement, the White House wrote that the launch is “a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, raises tensions, and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond.”
If true, the launch marks North Korea’s third attempt in recent months to place its first spy satellite in orbit. The first two tries resulted in failure, and the South Korean government claims to have pulled debris from the ocean associated with at least one of those launches.
Following the two failed launches, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss how the two nations might cooperate on spaceflight endeavors, including sharing rocket technology.
North Korean reports say the nation is planning further launches of additional surveillance satellites meant to help keep tabs on South Korea, its rival in a nearly 80-year military stand-off.