Published On: Thu, Feb 29th, 2024

North Korea’s threat to the world deepens as spy satellite ‘is alive’ and being controlled | World | News

North Korea‘s spy satellite is believed to be “alive”, three months after Pyongyang successfully launched it into orbit.

Marco Langbroek, a satellite expert at the Dutch Delft University of Technology, said to have detected important and unexpected changes in the object’s orbit between February 19 and 24.

These movements, which he noticed through data from the US-led Combined Space Operations Center, suggested Pyongyang was controlling the spacecraft from Earth.

Mr Langbroek wrote in a blog post on February 27: “The manoeuvre proves that Malligyong-1 is not dead, and that North Korea has control over the satellite – something that was disputed.”

His analysis came after independent radio trackers said not to have been able to detect signals from the satellite.

While the true capabilities of the Malligyong-1 remain unknown, the expert stated: “Now we can definitely say the satellite is alive.”

On Monday, South Korea’s Defence Ministry reported the satellite was not showing signs of performing tasks or engaging in reconnaissance.

Mr Langbroek acknowledged it is still not known whether the satellite can, as claimed by North Korea, take pictures of sensitive areas on Earth.

Yet, he stressed that the mere fact it was able to raise its lowest point in orbit, or perigee, from 303.2 miles to 308.8 miles was “a big deal”, as the satellite was not expected to have an onboard propulsion system.

The Malligyong-1 presented the third attempt by North Korea to send a spy satellite into orbit.

A week after its launch, North Korea claimed the satellite had sent back “detailed” images of the White House, the Pentagon and a military base, as well as of four US nuclear aircraft carriers and a British aircraft carrier.

The existence of these images, which state-run KCNA news agency claimed had been viewed by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, has not been independently verified.

Pyongyang, which is steadily testing new weapons and becoming more aggressive with its threats against South Korea, has vowed to launch three more spy satellites throughout this year.

The Malligyong-1 is thought to have been made possible thanks to technological help believed to have been provided by Russia in exchange for ammunition to be used on the Ukrainian battlefield.

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