North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced the country has finished constructing its first military reconnaissance satellite and has ordered officials to prepare for a launch on an undisclosed date, according to state media. The announcement came as Kim, along with his daughter Ju Ae, toured the National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) and inspected the facility.
Back in December, North Korea launched a “test satellite” into orbit, with NADA describing it as an important final-stage test for the project’s development. At that time, NADA said final preparations for a launch would be made by April 2023, which appears to be on track.
This is part of a larger plan to launch several surveillance satellites on different orbits, which Kim said would be critical in “securing real-time information about the hostile forces’ military scenario.” For North Korea, the satellites would be used as a deterrent against the United States and South Korea with the idea that they can be used to identify targets for nuclear strikes.
The imaging quality of the new satellite remains unknown. The test satellite from December provided black and white imaging that lacked sophisticated capabilities, however, North Korea has claimed that the test does not show the country’s true imaging capabilities.