NewsNorth Korea's spy satellite is 'alive'. Malligyong-1 raises concerns

North Korea's spy satellite is 'alive'. Malligyong-1 raises concerns

North Korea's spy satellite is 'alive'. Malligyong-1 raises concerns
Images source: © GETTY | SOPA Images

7:57 AM EST, February 28, 2024

North Korea's first spy satellite is showing signs of being effectively controlled from Earth. This is another weapon in the hands of the unpredictable North Korean authorities, who plan to launch three more devices this year.

Orbital interference

The satellite was reported to be operational by Marco Langbroek, a satellite expert at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He detected changes in its orbit that suggested Pyongyang was effectively controlling the craft, although its capabilities remain unknown.

The rocket carrying the Malligyong-1 spy satellite was launched, according to the North Korean government, at a location given as Gyeongsang province, back in November 2023.

This came after two failures, when the rockets exploded during the launch attempt. In the end, North Korea succeeded in launching the Malligyong-1 satellite, with Pyongyang's state media claiming it had photographed sensitive military and political sites in South Korea, the United States and other countries, but did not publish any images. At the time, however, no signals from the satellite were detected - recall Reuters.

"Satelite is operational"

"Now we can say with certainty that the satellite is operational," Marco Langbroek wrote in a blog post.

"From February 19-24, the satellite conducted maneuvers to raise its lowest point in orbit, from 488 km to 497 km (...) The maneuver proves that Malligyong-1 is not dead and that North Korea has control of the satellite", Langbroek said, citing data from the US-led Joint Space Operations Center.

South Korea's Ministry of Defense confirmed that the satellite had reached orbit but refrained from elaborating on specific assessments. Defence Minister Shin Won-sik stated on Monday that there were no indications the satellite was conducting additional functions or involved in reconnaissance activities.

Source: Reuters,

See also