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Forum:ESA - JAXA - China - International
Topic:North Korean rocket and satellite launches
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U.S. Strategic Command statement

U.S. Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch into space at 6:29 p.m. CST.

The missile was tracked on a southerly launch over the Yellow Sea.

NORAD determined that at no time was the missile a threat to North America. The men and women of USSTRATCOM, NORAD AND USNORTHCOM, AND USPACOM remain vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and are fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security.

Robert PearlmanHyon Kwang Il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration, has told the Associated Press that "he hopes to see the North Korean flag on the moon within the next 10 years."
An unmanned, no-frills North Korean moon mission in the not-too-distant future isn't as far-fetched as it might seem. Outside experts say it's ambitious, but conceivable. While the U.S. is the only country to have conducted manned lunar missions, other nations have sent unmanned spacecraft there and have in that sense planted their flags.

"It would be a significant increase in technology, not one that is beyond them, but you have to debug each bit," Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains an exhaustive blog on international satellites and satellite launches, said in an email to the AP.

Hyon said the current five-year plan, at the order of leader Kim Jong Un, focuses on launching more Earth observation satellites and what would be its first geostationary communications satellite — which, technologically, would be a major step forward. He said universities are also expanding programs to train rocket scientists.

"We are planning to develop the Earth observation satellites and to solve communications problems by developing geostationary satellites. All of this work will be the basis for the flight to the moon," Hyon said on July 28, adding that he personally would like to see that happen "within 10 years' time."

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