North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station: Low Level Activity Continues

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu, Peter Makowsky, and Irv Buck

Commercial satellite imagery from October 31 indicates that North Korea has installed new equipment, possibly for ventilation, on the roof of the eastern-most fuel/oxidizer storage bunker at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Prior to May 26, the bunker had a smooth dark roof. While the new equipment seems to have been installed between June and July 2018, previous imagery until late October had insufficient detail to distinguish between partial roof demolition and new equipment installation.

The recent imagery also shows no further dismantlement activity at the vertical engine test stand and launch pad since August. Components that were previously removed remain stacked on the ground at both locations.

These developments, combined with the continued presence and movement of vehicles at the administrative and security headquarters at the entrance to the site along with new objects placed on the roof of one of the buildings, indicate activity continues at Sohae at a low level.

Figure 1. No new dismantlement activity at the engine test stand from August 3 to October 31.

Figure 1A. No new dismantlement activity at the engine test stand from August 3 to October 31.
Figure 1B. No new dismantlement activity at the engine test stand from August 3 to October 31.
Figure 1C. No new dismantlement activity at the engine test stand from August 3 to October 31.
Figure 1D. No new dismantlement activity at the engine test stand from August 3 to October 31.
Figure 1E. No new dismantlement activity at the engine test stand from August 3 to October 31.

Figure 2. Equipment installed on bunker roof since May 26 at launch pad, no further dismantlement activity observed since August 3.

Figure 2A. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 2B. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 2C. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 2D. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 2E. Components on the launch pad remain undisturbed since August 3. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]

Figure 3. Continued movement of vehicles and equipment at the administrative and security headquarters.

Figure 3A. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 3B. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 3C. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 3D. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 3E. Image Pleiades © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
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