North Korea claims to have conducted ‘final-stage test for reconnaissance satellite’

A TV screen shows an image of North Korea’s rocket with the test satellite during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on Monday.

SEOUL — North Korean state media reported Monday that the country had conducted an important final-stage test for the development of a reconnaissance satellite, apparently referring to the Sunday launch of two ballistic missiles.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, the test was conducted by North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, a missile test site in Tongchang-ri in the northwest of the country. The country’s space agency announced it would “finish the preparations for the first military reconnaissance satellite by April 2023.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The news agency said that after the high-angle launch of a test-piece satellite to an altitude of 500 kilometers, “the test confirmed the important technical indices, including the technology of camera operation in space environment, data processing and transmission capability of communication devices and the tracking and controlling accuracy of ground control system.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff believe medium-range ballistic missiles were launched at a high angle to reduce their flight range.

Pyongyang has launched ballistic missiles in the past under the guise of developing a reconnaissance satellite. It may continue its launches through next spring.