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`Spies in sky' zero in on North Korea

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posted on Sep, 29 2003 @ 02:36 AM

[Sorry, ZION, this is a news I receive in my mail, no link again, I will post the entire news article] Nans

The Asahi Shimbun

The nation's first two spy satellites, launched in March, have begun
transmitting full images of nuclear facilities and ballistic-missile
launch sites in North Korea, sources said over the weekend.

The Yongbyon nuclear complex about 100 kilometers north of Pyongyang
and ballistic-missile launching facilities in Musudan on the
northeast coast are among the satellites' surveillance targets, the
sources said.

The satellites were blasted into orbit in late March aboard an H2A
rocket from Tanegashima, Kagoshima Prefecture, and are still on a
test run.

They began taking images in May and have so far scrutinized targets
linked to weapons of mass destruction and other military facilities
in, among others, Russia, China and the Middle East. The targets
were identified based on a list compiled by various government
ministries and agencies.

North Korea remains the focus of attention for the satellites, which
are operated by the Cabinet satellite intelligence center, the
sources said.

One of the satellites is equipped with a telescopic optical sensor,
while the other has a synthetic aperture radar capable of taking
pictures in the dark and in bad weather.

But images taken so far by the optical sensor are clear enough only
to identify objects of 2-3 meters in size unless weather conditions
are exceptionally good, the sources said.

Until now, the government bought images from commercial companies
that use the Ikonos high-resolution satellite.

Although Japan has insisted its space development program is for
peaceful means, Tokyo decided to develop spy satellites after the
1998 launch by North Korea of a Taepodong missile over Japan.
(IHT/Asahi: September 22,2003)

[Edited on 29-9-2003 by Nans DESMICHELS]

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