The first North Korean space rocket was given the US names Taepo-Dong 1 as the nearest map reference was called Taepo-Dong. The "Taepo-Dong 1" use as first stage a Nodong  missile and a Soviet Scud as second stage.
Meanwhile, it has to be assumed that there were three versions of the Taepo-Dong (Paektusan). The mostly of published images and a video must come of an early test version. The rocket is not white colored compared as later pictures of a TD, but green colored. A third version has a larger cable duct at the second stage and suggest that is used a Hwasong-9 (Scud-D). But this version was probably not completed. Compare "Versions".

The  launch of the Taepo-Dong 1 (now
Paektusan-1) was made in August 1998, although this test used a three stage missile with an additional solid-propellant third stage added. The launch was made from the test facility near Musudan-ri and it is reported that the third stage flew for around 4,000 km. The launch site had a single open mesh square launch platform. Preparations were reported for a second launch in November 1998, but no further flights have been made.
North Korea described the launch in 1998 as a satellite launch vehicle test, stating that the third stage placed a small satellite into an elliptical orbit. US and other reports suggested that the satellite did not go into orbit as the third stage failed during motor burn.

North Korea reported the launch of its first satellite. This announcement was followed on September 14, 1998 by the release of a photograph of the satellite and the claim that the satellite had completed its 100th orbit of the earth. Video of the launch, the satellite, and an animation of the satellite in orbit around the earth were distributed to foreign news agencies the following weekend.
Despite these claims no foreign observer ever detected the satellite visually, by radar, or picked up its radio signals. What seems to have happened is that the third stage either failed and fell into the Pacific or misfired and put the satellite into a low orbit where it decayed very quickly before it could be detected by foreign observers.

North Korea reported the launch of its first satellite as follows:
"Our scientists and technicians have succeeded in launching the first artificial satellite aboard a multi-stage rocket into orbit. The rocket was launched in the direction of 86 degrees at a launching station in Musudan-ri (40.8 deg N, 129.7 deg E) at 12:07 August 31, 1998 and correctly put the satellite into orbit at 12 hours 11 minutes 53 seconds in four minutes 53 seconds. "
"The rocket is of three stages. The first stage was separated from the rocket 95 seconds after the launch and fell on the open waters of the East Sea of Korea 253 km off the launching station, that is 40 degrees 51 minutes north latitude 139 degrees 40 minutes east longitude. The second stage opened the capsule in 144 seconds, separated itself from the rocket in 266 seconds and fell on the open waters of the Pacific 1,646 km off from the launching station, that is 40 degrees 13 minutes north latitude 149 degrees 07 minutes east longitude. The third stage put the satellite into orbit 27 seconds after the separation of the second stage. "
"The satellite is running along the oval orbit 218.8 km in the nearest distance from the earth and 6,978.2 km in the farthest distance. Its period is 165 minutes 6 seconds. The satellite is equipped with necessary sounding instruments. The satellite is now transmitting the melody of the revolutionary hymns in 27 MHz."


Paektusan-1 has a length of  ~24.0 m and a launch weight of ~21,000 kg. The first stage is a Nodong missile with a length of ~12.30 m, a body diameter of 1.25 m, and a total weight of ~13,380 kg. This stage carries ~11,150 kg of UDMH/AK-27 propellants. It is propelled by a so-called Nodong engine, and to burns for 95 seconds with a thrust of  ~280 kN (s.l.).

An  interesting reference for the origin of the Nodong engine is a Russian drawing for the manufacture of an engine, whose measurements and outlines equal the Nodong engine. It is probable that this engine belongs to an unknown Soviet missile R-17K (Scud-D), which exactly corresponds to the larger Nodong missile. These missile was not taken over however in the rocket arsenal of the Soviets, probably however exports to North Korea.
Meanwhile at first by Novosti Kosmonavtiki sensational photos of the Chinese engine YF-2 published. It is now confirmed that four single engines are combined with its own turbopumps. The shape of the chambers and the nozzles are more similar to the smaller Scud-B engine than to the Nodong engine. The Nodong engine has greater similarity to the
Soviet four-chamber engine Isayev S2.1100 (Burya booster). In addition however clear differences between all engines are to be determined. In any case, this engine YF-2 is a creation of Isayev's design bureau. All the details are typical.


A 0.50 m long grid-interstage joins the first and second stages. The second stage is based upon a Scud-C missile (=Hwasong-6), with a total length of ~8.50 m and a body diameter of  0.88 m. This stage is believed to have ~4.337 kg of  TM-185 and AK-27 liquid propellants. The total weight is ~5,200 kg. The modified Scud-engine (four steering engines are added) burns 75 sec. The third stage is a solid-propellant motor with a burn time of about 26-27 seconds und was ignited after a coast phase. The fairing has a total length of ~ 3.10 m, and includes the third stage and the attached payload.