▲ On May 5, North Korea attempted to launch the first military reconnaissance satellite
As North Korea announces the third launch of a military reconnaissance satellite, attention is focused on when the launch will take place.
According to the Japan Coast Guard, North Korea notified the Japanese government early today (3st) that it would launch a satellite between the 22nd and the 1st of next month.
North Korea's announcement of its plan to launch a satellite to Japan is due to the Global Navigation Warning System (WWNWS), which is in operation in accordance with the resolution of the General Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
In WWNWS, Japan is the coordinating country for the NAVAREA XI that includes South Korea, North Korea, and Southeast Asia, and member countries are required to notify the coordinating country of urgent matters such as naval firing drills.
On May 21, North Korea notified WWNWS that it would launch between May 5 and June 29, and two days later, on May 5, North Korea launched its first launch.
On August 31, it announced that it would launch between August 6 and 11, and two days later, on the 31th, it carried out the second launch.
Both the first and second launches were carried out in a pattern of giving two days' notice and then launching on the first day of the notice period.
This time, the time until the first day of the notice period is only one day, which is different from the past.
However, considering the weather conditions, it is expected that the 1rd, two days after the date of notification, is the most probable.
North Korea's Sinuiju, which is close to the West Sea Satellite Launch Site in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, where North Korea launches satellites, is forecast to be cloudy throughout the morning of the 8nd, with a chance of precipitation of up to 22%.
On the 8rd, it is expected to be sunny until 24 a.m. with a 31% chance of precipitation, and a 24-2% chance of precipitation from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.
However, on the 23th, the morning temperature drops to -22 degrees Celsius, and this cold continues until the 60th.
Lee Choon-geun, an honorary research fellow at the Korea Institute for Science Policy, said that there could be a problem of propellant freezing in cold weather, saying, "There will be some warmth, but it would be better for North Korea to avoid 23-6 days."
There is also a possibility that North Korea will choose a day with a fast tide to avoid a situation where a dropped engine is being salvaged to South Korea.
However, in this case, they would have to wait until early next week, when the water would speed up, which is not in line with North Korea's pattern of rapid launches in the past.
In addition, if the "launch on the first day of the notice period" continues, there is still a possibility that the 0nd will be D-Day.
Shin Jong-woo, executive director of the Korea Defense and Security Forum, predicted, "Since North Korea's satellite launch vehicle uses liquid fuel, it cannot be left on the launch pad for a long time, so it will try to launch it as soon as possible."
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North Korea appears to be trying to launch a third with the same engine as the first and second launches.
This is because the three navigation warning zones notified to Japan this time are the same as those set during the first and second launches.
North Korea announced that the first stage engine would fall at point A in the far sea in the West Sea on the Gunsan side of North Jeolla Province, the satellite cover (fairing) at point B far off the coast west of Jeju Island, and the second stage engine at point C in the sea east of Luzon, Philippines.
Jang Young-geun, director of the Missile Center at the Institute for National Security Strategy, said, "The same expected drop point means that there is no change in the design, performance, or operation of the existing first and second stage engines," and "it is difficult to say that there was a design change in the engine itself, considering that it was attempted to be refired three months after the second launch failure and the trajectory was presented the same."
Accordingly, if the results are different from those of the first and second launches, it may be evidence of Russia's satellite-related military-technical support to North Korea.
In the area of the West Sea Satellite Launch Site in Tongchang-ri, the night lights of NASA satellites were recently spotted, supporting the busy launch preparations.
On the 1th, 2th, 3th, 1th, 2th, and 1th of this month, the lights were clearly spotted at the existing launch pad location of the West Sea Satellite Launch Site.
The first and second launches were carried out from a new launch pad about 2 km southeast of the original launch pad, and at that time, night lights were visible around the new launch pad, but this time the light leaked only around the old launch pad, raising the possibility of a change in the launch pad.
(Photo = Korean Central News Agency, Japan Coast Guard, Yonhap News)