North Korea now have rebuild
the Transfer Structure and Engine Test Stand
CSIS -- March 09, 2019
Bermudez, J. & Cha, V.
The environmental covers around the umbilical tower have been closed on the
launch tower. Environmental panels on the vertical test engine stand superstructure
have been installed. The rail-mounted processing shelter has also been assembled
and positioned adjacent to the test stand.
Comment: No further activities to see. Everything
is in readiness since some days.
38 North -- March 07, 2019
Jack Liu, Irv Buck & Jenny Town
At the launch pad, work on the rail-mounted transfer structure appears to have
been completed by March 6 and the structure may now be operational. The cranes
have been removed from the pad and the overhead trusses that were being installed
on the roof have been covered. The mobile structure is now situated at the far
end of the launch pad adjacent to the checkout building. Several vehicles are
parked near the now closed again gantry tower.
At the engine test stand progress has been made on rebuilding the support structure
for the stand, the materials that were there as of March 2 are now installed
(covering of the steel superstructure). The old fuel bunkers have almost
completely a roof again. The cranes have been removed.
Comment: Due to the rapidly rebuilding of all structures we can expect upcoming
tests for the new Unha-X launcher. We will probably experience a test of
the first-stage. It will only be a suborbital flight. It has nothing to
do with an ICBM test.
38 North -- March 05, 2019
Jack Liu & Jenny Town
On the launch pad, the rail-mounted transfer building is being reassembled.
Two support cranes are observed at the building, the walls have been erected
and a new roof added. The walls appear to be one segment taller (no !)
than the previous transfer building and new truss is being installed. The materials
that have been stacked on the pad over the past few months are gone. The
environmental covers around the umbilical tower have been opened.
At the engine test stand, it appears that the engine support structure is being
reassembled. Two cranes are present and construction materials are spread across
the stand’s apron. Just new roofs will be installed on the old fuel bunkers.
Based on commercial satellite imagery, efforts to rebuild these structures started
sometime between February 16 and March 2, 2019.
Comment on the surprising dismantling of the "SLV Transfer Structure" on the
It is more than surprising that North
Korea is dismantling its SLV Transfer Structure, which was completed just three
years ago. But this action (as well as the dismantling of the superstructure
of the engine test stand) has nothing to do with the nuclear program or ICBM
development. With the dismantling of the transfer structure, North Korea deprive
itself the ability to launch SLV's for a period of time. But that is calculated.
The chosen time interval is only a good will signal. The Unha-3 is no longer
used and the new Unha-X is not yet operational. The transfer structure can be
reassembled in short time, maybe in an improved version. In any case, North
Korea will not end its space ambitions.
|CSIS -- January 30, 2019
Bermudez, J. & Cha, V.
North Korea Reportedly Renews Commitment to Dismantle the Sohae Launch
As of January 20,
2019, commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launch Facility
shows that no new dismantling activity has occurred at the vertical
engine test stand or rail-mounted processing building since August 2018.
Launch Pad: The launch pad shows that the rail-mounted processing/transfer
structure remains in the center of the pad with its roof, roof support structure,
and portions of two vertical walls removed. Dismantled components are observed
stacked in front of the structure and by the rail transfer point to the
south. This status has not changed in the past five months.
Engine Test Stand: Both the old fuel/oxidizer bunkers and the vertical
engine test stand’s steel superstructure remain partially dismantled.
38 North -- July 23, 2018
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
North Korea Begins Dismantling Key Facilities at the Sohae Satellite
"Commercial satellite imagery of the launch pad from July 20 shows that
the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure has been moved to the middle
of the pad, exposing the underground rail transfer point—one of the few
times it has been seen in this location. The roof and supporting structure
have been partially removed and numerous vehicles are present—including
a large construction crane. An image from two days later shows the continued
presence of the crane and vehicles. Considerable progress has been made
in dismantling the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure. One corner
has been completely dismantled and the parts can be seen lying on the ground.
In both images the two fuel/oxidizer bunkers, main processing building and
gantry tower remain untouched."
Air Defense & Space, August 03: It seems to prove my thesis
that this is just a reconstruction of the Transfer Structure. The demolition
has not progressed and the crane has been removed. Everything indicates
that the test stand will also undergo a reconstruction. The partial removal
of the roofs on the fuel bunkers is only for the purpose of replacing the
Air Defense & Space, August 27:
No further demolition since the dismantling of the superstructure.
Old steel segments and tanks from the bunkers are to see on the ground