North Korea has reportedly developed a more advanced reconnaissance satellite and may be able to move it on a mobile launcher.
Named the Kwangmyongsong-5, the satellite is equipped with cameras and telecommunication devices, South Korean newspaper the JoongAng Ilbo said this week, citing an unnamed government source.
JoongAng Ilbo’s report suggested the Kwangmyongsong-5 could transmit data to Earth, unlike its previous satellites.
The rogue state’s last rocket launch was in February 2016, when it sent an Earth observation satellite known as the Kwangmyongsong-4 into orbit.
Many fear that the pariah state, which is supposed to be banned from launches using ballistic missile technology, is testing long-range missiles disguised as satellite launches.
Still, Pyongyang has long defended its right to develop a space programme. In October, North Korea’s deputy United Nations ambassador, Kim In Ryong, said his country had a plan to develop “practical satellites that can contribute to the economic development and improvement of the people’s living.”
The Kwangmyongsong-5 could be deployed by a mobile launcher, an official from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told the newspaper.
Pyongyang usually launches rockets from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, which is near the country’s northern border with China.