North Korea announced to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that they intend to launch a satellite into orbit between 8-25 February. Martyn Williams got the docs straight from the IMO and was kind enough to share. The doc looks similar to their 2012 announcements, and while there is wiggle room for weather, it’s likely they are “aiming” to launch in celebration of Kim Jong Il’s birthday on February 16th. All eyes are on Sohae and its new refurbished facilities.
I compared the splash down zones in this announcement with the April and December 2012 ones. There’s not much variation, which leads me to believe they intend to use the Unha-3 or something very similar. It’s possible they will use a slightly heavier payload or more fuel. Looks like they are determined to get Kwangmyongsong into a steady orbit.
April 2012 (white), December 2012 (yellow), February 2016 (Red).
The wonk in me wanted to see if they would trot out a newer bigger missile. We’ve been on tenterhooks since they extended the height of the gantry tower. Guess we will have to wait for the next “special delivery” with love from North Korea.
UPDATE: North Korea has moved up the launch date to 7-14 February, putting it squarely in China’s largest annual holiday. Tsk tsk tsk…