News

North Korea conducts high-thrust rocket engine test

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (centre) watches the ground jet test of a high-thrust engine on screens at an undisclosed location in North Korea, on Saturday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (centre) watches the ground jet test of a high-thrust engine on screens at an undisclosed location in North Korea, on Saturday. EPA/KCNA

NORTH Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong-un is calling a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space program, the North's state media said yesterday. Mr Kim attended Saturday's test at the Sohae launch site, according to the Korean Central News Agency, which said the test was intended to confirm the "new type" of engine's thrust power and gauge the reliability of its control system and structural safety.

He called the test "a great event of historic significance" for the country's indigenous rocket industry, the KCNA report said. He also said the "whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries" and claimed the test marks what will be known as the "March 18 revolution" in the development of the country's rocket industry.

The report indicated that the engine is to be used for North Korea's space and satellite-launching program. North Korea is banned by the United Nations from conducting long-range missile tests, but it claims its satellite program is for peaceful use, a claim many in the US and elsewhere believe is questionable.

North Korean officials have said that, under a five-year plan, they intend to launch more Earth observation satellites and what would be the country's first geostationary communications satellite - which would be a major technological advance. Getting that kind of satellite into place would likely require a more powerful engine than its previous ones. The North also claims it is trying to build a viable space program that would include a moon launch within the next 10 years.

The test was conducted as the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in China on a swing through Asia that has been closely focused on concerns over how to deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. It's hard to know whether this test was deliberately timed to coincide with Mr Tillerson's visit, but Pyongyang has been highly critical of ongoing US-South Korea wargames just south of the Demilitarised Zone and often conducts high-profile operations of its own in protest.

Earlier this month, it fired off four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, reportedly reaching within 193km of Japan's shoreline. Japan, which was Mr Tillerson's first stop before travelling to South Korea and China, hosts tens of thousands of US troops. While building ever better long-range missiles and smaller nuclear warheads to pair with them, North Korea has marked a number of successes in its space program.

It launched its latest satellite - the Kwangmyongsong 4, or Brilliant Star 4 - into orbit on February 7 last year, just one month after conducting what it claims was its first hydrogen-bomb test. It put its first satellite in orbit in 2012, a feat few other countries have achieved. In 2013, South Korea launched a satellite into space from its own soil for the first time, although it needed Russian help to build the rocket's first stage.

The Independent


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Flexibility for producers

BIOSECURITY UPDATE: Ray White Rural Roma's AJ Riley said they can help producers with the new requirements.

Deadline extended for bovine Johne's disease plan

Driver recovers after 11-tonne loader flips on highway

ON THE MEND: John Johnson with Annie Collins and son Mark, wife Karen and daughter Sarah Johnson.

Johnson amazes doctors with recovery

New era for tourism with Wagner-backed group

Some of the lettering at the launch of Tourism Darling Downs.

JOHN Wagner calls new group launch as a “new era” for the industry

Local Partners

RFDS flies west for mental health

RFDS is breaking down barriers in mental health by heading west to hold clinics and workshops in rural and remote communities.

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Country music stars coming to Ipswich

Ipswich will get it's country on when The Country Superstars Tribute Show hits town on Friday, June 30 at Brothers Leagues Club.

A UNIQUE tribute show will bring a bit of country into the city.

Shoes make difference to kids in Zambia

MANY SHOES: Toowoomba Grammar School's Adrian Irwin and Fairholme College's Libby Stumer with shoes collected for children in Zambia.

Students are making a difference, creating a new project

Digging down to find Clare

After five years on the TV series Nashville it’s time for Clare Bowen to tell stories about herself and her loved ones.

TV REVIEW: Offspring season 7 is... fine

Alexander England and Asher Keddie in a scene from season seven of Offspring.

New Offspring won’t be remembered as the best season.

What's on at the cinemas over the school holidays

Tom Holland in a scene from the movie Spider-man: Homecoming.

Escape from reality over the holidays with a trip to the movies.

Rapper accidentally drops Banksy's real name in interview

Banksy’s ‘The girl with a balloon.’

Rapper Goldie may have just outed Banksy's real identity

Mariah Carey slammed for on-set antics

Mariah Carey’s cameo in the movie The House was reportedly scrapped.

Actor spills the beans on Mariah’s “borderline abusive” behaviour.

Celebrity chef Darren Simpson dead after long illness

Celebrity chef Darren Simpson has died.

Celebrity chef died after battle with an alcohol-related illness

Ellen shames audience member

Ellen shamed an audience member who stole from her gift shop.

TALK show host catches audience member stealing from her gift shop.

Millionaire Nathan Birch to offload $55M in property

Nathan Birch wants to focus more on developing properties.

Sydney property investor has announced he is selling up

Fame factor boosts property prices in Byron

The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay.

House prices surge by an incredible 39.5% in star-studded area

Grass is greener for Warwick real estate

Warwick's rural charm and affordable property prices are enticing buyers from Brisbane.

Quality houses for half the price of Brisbane attracting interest

Builders relish Coast's growing construction rates

The Coast's average house price has risen from by more than $10,000 in the past three years to $507,100.

House numbers and values are rising on the Coast

Open for inspection: Coast homes go on show

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!