North Korea launched Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite

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Who: Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite
Where: Sohae Space Center
What: Launched by North Korea
When: 7 February 2016

North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) on 7 February 2016 launched the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite.

The satellite was launched on-board the Kwangmyongsong rocket from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province.

Features of Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite

• It is an earth observation satellite and was launched as per the 2016 plan of the 5-year program for national aerospace development.

• It seeks to augment country’s science, technology, economy and defense capability.

• It was placed in the polar orbit at a distance of 500 km from the Earth.

• It was named after late leader Kim Jong Il, the father of the present leader Kim Jong Un.

Comment

The launch attracted wide spread criticism from the UN and other major powers including the western countries led by the USA.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), in an emergency meeting on 7 February 2016, also condemned the launch terming it as a missile test to validate nuclear arms carrying capabilities which are under development.

Earlier, on 6 January 2016, North Korea claimed that it conducted nuclear bomb test. It was the third nuclear test since its first launch in 2006 which attracted UN sanctions.

The timing of the test also assumed significance as it was conducted ahead of a ruling party congress in May 2016, the first since 1980.