North Korea’s First Step To The Moon Completed With Successful Rocket Test

Coburn Palmer

Kim Jong Un wants to plant a North Korean flag on the moon and despite periodic famines and repeated international sanctions the communist state might defy expectations and become a player in the space race.

North Korea successfully test fired a rocket capable of launching a satellite into space this week paving the way for the hermit kingdom to put spacecraft into orbit, DPRK state media reported.

After the successful test, Kim ordered North Korean scientists and officials to prepare to launch satellites into orbit as soon as possible, according to KCNA, a website that monitors media reports from the hermit kingdom.

"Kim Jong Un... visited the Sohae Space Center to guide the ground jet test of a new type high-power engine of a carrier rocket for the geo-stationary satellite."

The launch of a geostationary satellite into orbit is the first major stepping stone on North Korea's path to the moon and the communist regime's recent leap in technology means they might soon possess the necessary skills to become a major player in the space race.

When North Korea announced its intention to put a man on the moon the world laughed, but astrophysicist and international satellite expert Jonathon McDowell said it wouldn't be impossible, reports The Guardian.

"It would be a significant increase in technology, not one that is beyond them."

"Whatever missiles North Korea may roll out in coming years, we can no longer expect to be limited to what can be cobbled together from old Russian cold-war leftovers."
"This test is another important development pointing to the first launch of a bigger, better space vehicle to place satellites in higher orbits, which could happen in the not too distant future."

The rocket engine test comes after a nuclear test earlier by the communist country this month that alarmed North Korea's neighbors and their Western allies; the fifth in only 10 years.

The hermit kingdom also test fired three missiles this month that flew about 600 miles each as well as a ballistic missile launched from a submarine. North Korea also successfully flew an intermediate range missile in June after several failed attempts raising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea responded to the saber rattling by developing a plan to destroy Pyongyang with ballistic missiles and use elite troops to assassinate Kim if North Korea showed signs of launching a nuclear weapon.

The U.S. also flew two B-1B bombers over South Korea this week in a show of force.

As part of its quest to plant the North Korean flag on the lunar surface the isolationist country previously upgraded its Sohae Space Center to better test rockets meant to carry satellites into orbit, as noted by 38 North.

"We should start thinking about how we might live with a North Korea that has such a capability."

[Featured image by Wong Maye-E/AP Images]