The official story is that they want to orbit some spy cameras. Twice recently, North Korea blasted off unidentified medium-range ballistic missile class booster rockets. They make Joe Biden’s handlers nervous, but not nervous enough.
Something up in orbit
Nobody has a clue what the actual payload is, other than that “North Korea wants to convey it is making progress toward placing a ‘military reconnaissance satellite‘ into orbit.” These rocket boosters happen to be the extra-large economy size ones.
Kim’s lab-coat wearing experts promised they wanted to simply “pop the key components of an imagery reconnaissance satellite up to operational altitudes for a few minutes of testing,” 38North reports. The experts are expected to assume that the mission relates to “past North Korean satellite subsystem failures.” It could be something a whole lot freakier.
The “rods from god” idea has been around for a long, long time. Take tungsten steel rods the size and shape of a pointed telephone pole and park them in orbit. When you’re ready to use them, just drop one or more at a time.
No fuel required and it puts out a blast comparable to a nuke without all that messy radiation. Even better, since the spears reach Mach 10 on the way down, the “rod itself would penetrate hundreds of feet into the Earth, destroying any potential hardened bunkers or secret underground sites.” Take that, Cheyenne Mountain!
On February 27, then again on March 5, “North Korea launched an unidentified medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)-class booster.”
Experts say the pair of tests indicate “the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is signaling the intent to conduct a satellite launch via a space launch vehicle. We do not know when such a launch would occur, the launch site or what SLV would be used.” It’s not good that we don’t know what they plan to stick up there in orbit over our heads.
Photos to prove cameras
See, we really did send a camera into orbit, the North Koreans can claim.
Their February test helped “confirm the characteristics and working accuracy of high definition photographing system, data transmission system and attitude control devices by conducting vertical and oblique photographing of a specific area on earth with cameras to be loaded on the reconnaissance satellite.” They attached a couple of snapshots “of the Korean Peninsula apparently taken from space.”
The March 5 missile hit an altitude of 560 km which is 348 miles high. They were high enough to put something in orbit, but this time didn’t confirm there really was a camera.
“No images were released, which may be consistent with the omission of the camera system from the test’s objectives.” They might have been seeing how high they could get with a payload full of tungsten telephone poles.
The analysts are a little skeptical about what Kim’s really up to in orbit. They were nervous enough to point it out in their report. The “February 27 and March 5 launches themselves may have made a technical contribution to the North’s missile capability (e.g., by permitting increased confidence in an existing missile type), but there is not enough information on what system was tested to be sure.”
They also note, “it may also be the precursor to other more provocative developments mentioned by Kim, such as the testing of multiple-warhead missiles.“