Korean Committee of Space Technology

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Korean Committee of Space Technology (KCST)
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of North Korea
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Ryu Kum Chol, Deputy director of Space Development Department of Korean Committee for Space Technology

The Korean Committee of Space Technology (KCST; Korean조선우주공간기술위원회, Hanja: 朝鮮宇宙空間技術委員會) was the agency of the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) responsible for the country's space program. The agency was terminated and succeeded by the National Aerospace Development Administration in 2013 after the Law on Space Development was passed in the 7th session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly.


Very little information on it is publicly available. It is known to have been founded sometime in the 1980s,[1] and most likely is connected to the Artillery Guidance Bureau of the Korean People's Army.


The KCST was responsible for all operations concerning space exploration and construction of satellites. On 12 March 2009, North Korea signed the Outer Space Treaty and the Registration Convention,[2] after a previous declaration of preparations for a new satellite launch.


Unha-3 Rocket on 8 April 2012 in Sohae

The KCST operated the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground and Sohae Satellite Launching Station rocket launching sites, Baekdusan-1 and Unha (Baekdusan-2) launchers, Kwangmyŏngsŏng satellites.

South Korea and the United States accused North Korea of using these facilities and the rockets as a cover for a military ballistic missile testing program.[3][4]


The DPRK twice announced that it had launched satellites: Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 on 31 August 1998 and Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 on 5 April 2009. The US 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, the DPRK announced more ambitious future space projects including its own crewed space flights and development of a crewed partially reusable launch vehicle.[5] Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 was launched on 13 April 2012 and ended in failure shortly after launch.[6] A follow-up attempt the following December, Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 entered polar orbit as confirmed by various countries.

Launch history[edit]

This is a list of satellites launched.

Launch history
Satellite Launch Date
Rocket Launch Site Status Purpose
Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 31 August 1998 Taepodong-1 Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground Failed to reach orbit Technology experimental satellite
4 July 2006 Unha-1 Launch Failure Rocket test (See 2006 North Korean missile test)
Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 5 April 2009 Unha-2 Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground Failed to reach orbit Communications satellite
Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 13 April 2012 Unha-3 Sohae Satellite Launching Station Launch Failure Observation satellite
Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 12 December 2012 Unha-3 Sohae Satellite Launching Station Successful launch Observation satellite
Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 7 February 2016 Unha Sohae Satellite Launching Station Successful launch Observation satellite

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Despite Clinton, Korea has rights". Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  2. ^ "KCNA Report on DPRK's Accession to International Space Treaty and Convention". KCNA. 2009-03-12. Archived from the original on 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  3. ^ Choe Sang-Hun (23 December 2012). "North Korean Missile Said to Have Military Purpose". New York Times.
  4. ^ "UN Security Council condemns North Korea rocket launch". BBC News. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  5. ^ "朝鲜宣布发展太空计划抗衡"西方强权"". Rodong Sinmun. 2009-02-08. Retrieved February 26, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "North Korea rocket launch 'fails'". April 13, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.