Author Topic: North Korea hopes to plant flag on the moon  (Read 2245 times)

Offline Star One

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North Korea hopes to plant flag on the moon
« on: 08/04/2016 07:28 pm »
An AP exclusive.

An unmanned, no-frills North Korean moon mission in the not-too-distant future isn't as far-fetched as it might seem. Outside experts say it's ambitious, but conceivable. While the U.S. is the only country to have conducted manned lunar missions, other nations have sent unmanned spacecraft there and have in that sense planted their flags.

"It would be a significant increase in technology, not one that is beyond them, but you have to debug each bit," Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains an exhaustive blog on international satellites and satellite launches, said in an email to the AP.

"We are planning to develop the Earth observation satellites and to solve communications problems by developing geostationary satellites. All of this work will be the basis for the flight to the moon," Hyon said on July 28, adding that he personally would like to see that happen "within 10 years' time."

North Korea currently has two satellites in orbit, KMS-3-2 and KMS-4. It put its first satellite in orbit in 2012, a feat few other countries have achieved. Rival South Korea, for example, has yet to do so.

Hyon said that as of July 27, KMS-4 had completed 2,513 orbits, and that within one day after its launch it transmitted 700 photographic images back to Earth. He said it is still working properly and sending data whenever it passes over North Korea, which is four times a day.

Foreign experts have yet to confirm any communications from the satellite.

"There's been no independent evidence that KMS-4 sent data back, but no evidence that it didn't, either," McDowell said.

German analyst Markus Schiller, one of the world's foremost experts on North Korea's missiles and rockets, said a geostationary satellite might be a more ambitious goal for the country than a lunar flyby or crash-landing.

"Hitting the moon hard would require less performance power, rocket size than getting into GEO (geostationary equatorial orbit), but it will still be quite a challenge," he said in an email from Munich, where he is based.

"Judging from what I have seen so far with their space program, it will take North Korea about a decade or more to get to lunar orbit at best if they really pursue this mission," he said. "My personal guess, however, is that they might try but they will fail, and we will not see a successful North Korea lunar orbiter for at least two decades, if ever."

I should have asked with all the knowledgeable people on here what posters think of this article?
« Last Edit: 08/05/2016 03:06 pm by Star One »


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