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astronautix.com Kwangmyongsong


Class: Technology. Type: Communications. Nation: Korea North.

In the first attempted North Korean satellite launch it was claimed that the Kwangmyongsong was placed in an orbit of 218.82 km perigee and 6,978.2 km apogee. The satellite was said to be equipped with 'necessary sounding instruments' and to 'contribute to promoting scientific research for peaceful use of outer space'. The satellite was 'transmitting the melody of the immortal revolutionary hymns ‘Song of General Kim Il Sung’ and ‘Song of General Kim Jong Il’ and the Morse signals ‘Juche Korea’ in 27 MHz'. Despite these explict details no evidence could be uncovered by Western intelligence agencies that the spacecraft had actually reached orbit.

This announcement was followed on September 14 by the release of a photograph of the satellite and the claim that the satellite had completed its 100th orbit of the earth between 08:24 and 11:17 local time (2017 GMT) on September 13. Video of the launch, the satellite, and an animation of the satellite in orbit around the earth were distributed to foreign news agencies the following weekend. The satellite appeared almost identical to the first Chinese test satellite (which itself appeared almost identical to the US Telstar).


Specification


Kwangmyongsong Chronology


31 August 1998 Kwangmyongsong 1 Launch Site: Musudan . Launch Vehicle: Taepodong 1. FAILURE: Third stage failure.

North Korea reported the launch of its first satellite on the first of September. This announcement was followed on September 14 by the release of a photograph of the satellite and the claim that the satellite had completed its 100th orbit of the earth between 08:24 and 11:17 local time (2017 GMT) on September 13. Video of the launch, the satellite, and an animation of the satellite in orbit around the earth were distributed to foreign news agencies the following weekend. The satellite appeared almost identical to the first Chinese test satellite (which itself appeared almost identical to the US Telstar).

Despite these claims no foreign observer ever detected the satellite visually, by radar, or picked up its radio signals. The Pentagon at first claimed it was an ICBM launch, and that the satellite story was just a cover for the test. However on further analysis of the data collected on the launch they admitted nearly a month later that there had been some a satellite launch attempt. What seems to have happened is that the third stage either failed and fell into the Pacific or misfired and put the satellite into a low orbit where it decayed very quickly before it could be detected by foreign observers. Additional Details: Kwangmyongsong 1.



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Last update 12 March 2001.
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