Successful ground tests on new rocket engine
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has overseen a ground test of a new rocket engine and ordered a satellite launch preparation, state media said Tuesday, an indication the country might soon conduct a prohibited long-range rocket launch.
The United Nations and others view the North’s space launch development project as a cover for tests of missile technology, as ballistic missiles and rockets in satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technology. North Korea is also openly working on developing nuclear-armed missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
Kim directed the ground test of a high-powered engine of a carrier rocket for a geo-stationary satellite at the Sohae Space Center in the country’s northwest, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
Kim was quoted as ordering officials and scientists to complete preparations for a satellite launch as soon as possible, amid “the enemies’ harsh sanctions and moves to stifle” the North.