North Korea has launched its spy satellite after years of being monitored by satellite, sending a message to the world that it can watch others, too.
On Tuesday, North Korean state media announced that leader Kim Jong Un had reviewed spy satellite photos of several key locations in the United States, including the White House, Pentagon, and US aircraft carriers at the Norfolk naval base.
The satellite, which North Korea claims is designed to monitor US and South Korean military movements, has also reportedly captured images of cities and military bases in South Korea, Guam, Italy, and Washington.
Despite North Korea’s claims, the country has yet to release any imagery from the satellite, leaving analysts and foreign governments to question its true capabilities.
South Korea’s plans to launch its spy satellite on a US Falcon 9 rocket has raised doubts about the North’s satellite capabilities. While confirming that North Korea’s satellite did enter orbit, the Pentagon did not comment on the claims made about the images it had captured.
Even a medium-resolution camera on the satellite would provide North Korea with the capability to see large areas or warships.
North Korea’s Satellite Launch
However, the usefulness of the images depends on the specific purposes North Korea intends to use them. To be truly effective in a conflict, North Korea would need to launch additional satellites for more frequent passes over crucial sites.
Kim Jong Un’s examination of the satellite images, as seen in state media photos, indicates that they may be panchromatic, a type of black-and-white photography sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light.
North Korea previously released panchromatic imagery of downtown Seoul as part of a test for its future military reconnaissance satellite.
While commercial imagery of the areas captured by North Korea’s satellite on November 27 is not currently available, the United States and South Korea have already condemned the launch as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting the use of ballistic technology.
As speculation continues about the true capabilities of North Korea’s spy satellite, its launch serves as a reminder of the ongoing technological advancements taking place in the country and the potential implications for regional and global security.
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