Feb 08 2009

North Korea's New Space Program?

Amid U.S. expectations that North Korea is preparing to test fire a new long-range missile, the DPRK announced today that North Korea will be pursuing its own space program (Taiwan News).

An advanced version of the North Korean Taepodong missile might someday be able to reach the U.S. west coast. Click dprk.jpg.

The official communist party announcement included this intriguing tidbit, “The DPRK’s (North Korea) policy of advancing to space for peaceful purposes is a justifiable aim that fits the global trend of the times…” (Italics mine.)

It does appear that the North Koreans are betting that the “global trend of the times” — i.e., new space programs are developing in many countries around the world — will make the DPRK story believable. This global trend is a major theme of 21stCenturyWaves.com featuring the approach to our next Maslow Window (expected in 2015) — the culmination of 200+ years of long-term trends in the economy and technology development, characterized by a major thrust toward international human expansion into the cosmos.

According to ROK Drop from Korea, “The North Koreans are taking a cue from the Iranians, when you want to test fire your long range missiles, just say they are part of your space program.” Indeed, as early as 2000, President Clinton offered North Korea a satellite launch deal in exchange for terminating their ICBM program — an idea that was dropped a year later by President Bush due to verification issues.

Since that time, a new launch site on North Korea’s west coast about 30 miles from China has been identified. The Pongdong-ni missile and space launch center has been under construction since 2000 but won’t be completed until 2010.

Although the Taepodong missile tests have not had much success — a 1998 launch failed to orbit its satellite and the better-known July 4, 2006 test failed after 40 seconds — some analysts believe that an advanced version of this missile could reach the U.S. west coast.

“As long as developing and using space are aimed at peaceful purposes and such efforts contribute to enhancing human beings’ happiness, no one in the world can find fault with them.” This cynical DPRK statement must be viewed in the context of a regime that shares its missile technology with Iran, and features an isolated one-man communist dictatorship — “the world’s most repressive regime” — that avoids the threat of starvation and malnutrition to its population only by humanitarian aid from the U.S. and others.

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