North Korea appears certain to launch a satellite this month in defiance of appeals by friends and foes alike to give up the plan in the interests of regional stability. However, new satellite imagery reports from 38 North suggest the launch could be delayed by increasingly cold conditions in the local area.
In a new post 38 North last night explained,
Contrary to press reports that the three-stage Unha rocket had already been erected at the launch pad by December 5, the North may have had insufficient time to complete that task by then…Work at the site may have been temporarily halted by snowfall on December 3, further delaying completion of the task
However, despite frosty weather, 38 North said that the DPRK might still be able to finish its preparations on schedule.
The fact that the period for this launch is twelve days—over twice as long as the five days announced in April—may indicate that the North is well aware of the potential pitfalls caused by bad weather and has built flexibility into the launch schedule.
Pyongyang announced last week that it would launch a rocket between December 10 and 22 with the aim of launching a satellite. Its neighbors and much of the rest of the world have warned against the launch, claiming it is nothing more than a disguised missile test and banned under U.N. sanctions.
Following North Korea’s announcement of the impending test, NK NEWS explored some of the likely motivations for the test: Understanding North Korea’s Next Satellite Launch
Photo of frozen Taedong River (Pyongyang) by Tom Farrell