North Korea is aiming to plant a national flag on the moon within the next ten years, a senior official with Pyongyang’s version of NASA told the Associated Press in a report published Thursday.
Hyon Kwang II, director of the scientific research department of the National Aerospace Development Administration, said that international sanctions would not prevent North Korea from launching more advanced satellites into orbit by 2020.
“Even though the U.S. and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon,” Hyon said, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Hyon said the nation’s five-year plan, ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, would focus on launching additional Earth observational satellites “to solve communications problems by developing geostationary satellites.”
The development would mark North Korea’s first geostationary communication satellite.
“All of this work will be the basis for the flight to the moon,” Hyon said.
North Korea also plans “to do manned spaceflight and scientific experiments in space, make a flight to the moon and moon exploration, and also exploration to other planets,” he added.
German analyst Markus Schiller, an expert on North Korea’s missiles, told the Associated Press that the geostationary satellite would likely be a more viable goal for the nation than a moon landing. He estimated it would take Pyongyang at least two decades to launch a successful lunar orbit.
“Judging from what I have seen so far with their space program, it will take North Korea about a decade or more to get to lunar orbit at best,” Schiller said.
(via: Washington Free Beacon)