North Korea to launch first military satellite
North Korea’s failed spy satellite launch is actually just a distraction from a far greater threat, an analyst believes.
Dictator Kim Jong-un suffered a major embarrassment this week when an attempted spy satellite launch failed, descending into the sea.
Pyongyang is allegedly plotting covert operations on the US and the West from space – and is planning a second launch.
Brandon Weichert, geopolitical analyst and author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, these launches are just a distraction from a more grave concern.
He told Daily Express US: “Like Iran, North Korea having a satellite program is at first not about the satellite capabilities.
“A nation like North Korea could use satellites to augment their military capabilities but that’s an ancillary concern.
“The real issue facing Pyongyang resides in the fact that each satellite launch is a perfect cover for testing and perfecting their ballistic missile technology which will be used to potentially deliver devastating payloads to distant targets, such as those in the United States.”
Weichert’s comments come as North Korea’s nuclear programme continues with its plans.
Pyongyang claimed it successfully tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time in April this year.
Kim warned the deadly weapon would make North Korea’s enemies “suffer in endless fear”.
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However, Weichert claims the alarming progress made by Pyongyang in recent months is not unrelated to its recent satellite tests.
He said: “The satellite launches in question may not be about placing useful communications or surveillance or weather monitoring satellites into orbit at all.
“Instead, the North Koreans have perfected their nuclear weapons capabilities to such a degree that they likely have Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) technology that can be placed onto a satellite to convert that satellite in orbit into a High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) weapon.”
Dr William R. Forstchen, a faculty fellow at Montreat College, is the author of a book about EMPs titled One Second After.
He told Daily Express US that an EMP attack “is created by detonating a rocket-launched nuclear weapon above the Earth’s atmosphere, about 200 miles up”.
He added: “When the bomb goes off, about four times the size of a Hiroshima bomb, it sets up an electrostatic discharge called the Compton Effect which cascades down to the Earth’s surface and shorts out the power grid.”
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The results could be disastrous, and it could take up to five years to repair the electricity grid after an EMP, according to a study conducted by the EMP Commission.
But Dr Forstchen warned there would be another mass casualty – as “90 percent of the population would perish as there would be no water”.
He added: “There would be no food supply. The average town only has about 20 days food supply then you’re out. Energy wouldn’t work anymore, the pumps don’t work. Medication, nursing homes…it would be absolutely tragic.”
Weichert suspects that North Korea may be considering to threaten the US with this kind of attack in the future.
He said: “North Korea is absolutely a player that could do outsized damage to the United States in the strategic high ground of space.
“North Korea’s failure to launch is part-and-parcel of the kind of learning curve that sanctioned regimes, like those of North Korea and Iran, go through….Korean military scientists learn essential lessons about how to perfect their technology so that it is more effective and reliable in the long-run.”
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