The DPRK twice announced that it launched satellites: Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 on August 31, 1998 and Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 on April 5, 2009. The USA and South Korea predicted that the launches would in actuality be military ballistic missile tests, but later confirmed that they had followed orbital launch trajectories
In 2009 DPRK announced more ambitious future space projects including own manned space flights and development of a manned partially reusable launch vehicle.Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 was launched on April 13, 2012 and ended in failure shortly after launch. A followup attempt the following December, Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, entered polar orbit as confirmed by various countries. The government hailed this launch as its first successful one, contradicting earlier claims.