Authorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Revelation 6:12)

US Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for Towers
New York Times
JULY 17, 2014
Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”
The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.
“The eastern U.S. has the potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments,” the agency said, citing the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck Virginia in 2011.
Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.
“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”
Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”
He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.
The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.
A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.
“Could there be a magnitude 6 in New York?” Mr. Armbruster said. “In Virginia, in a 300 year history, 4.8 was the biggest, and then you have a 5.8. So in New York, I wouldn’t say a 6 is impossible.
Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.

Why Britain Is A Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Why Britain needs nuclear weapons


In Brighton, opposite the derelict remains of the burnt out West Pier, delegates to Labour’s Conference are having an unusual year. There are no campaigners protesting outside the small secure zone, because – as the joke goes – the crazies are all up on the stage inside the hall making speeches. Some regulars haven’t come, and those that have remark at just how unstructured, how poorly led some elements of conference seem to be. In the late summer heat, Labour is struggling under the new regime – widely expected by pessimistic insiders to last twelve to eighteen months – and trying to stop Corbyn from trashing Labour’s electoral credibility for 2025. One of the first early battles was preventing a debate Corbyn wanted on the renewal of Trident, Britain’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent.

Introduced in 1994 to replace the predecessor system Polaris, Trident is expected to last until the middle of the next decade, which means that construction of a new system needs to begin soon. Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t believe that it should be renewed, and the Conservatives are already going hard on Labour as a threat to national security. The Conservative manifesto pledged a replacement to Trident, promising four submarines to deliver a continuous deterrent with a submarine always at sea at a likely cost of over £20bn just to build. Given the immense cost – the nuclear fleet are the most expensive items the UK owns – why would the UK want to maintain the ability to launch nuclear missiles from beneath the sea?

In a 2007 vote, MPs voted for plans to renew Trident by 409 to 161. Since then the government has been spending hundreds of millions of pounds planning the Trident replacement. As one of the five permanent and founding members of the Security Council, the UK is one of the biggest global defence spenders and a recognized nuclear power with the power to veto UN Security Council resolutions. The UK hasn’t used the right to veto since 1989 when it was used to defend the US invasion of Panama, but with that place on the UN Security Council the UK has a seat at the very highest table in international politics alongside the USA, Russia, China and France. While some point to the difficulty of removing the UK from the Council, members are the only states recognized as “nuclear weapon states” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and many fear that abandoning the UK’s nuclear weapons would loosen our grip on permanent membership.

Since the US bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, no nation has used a nuclear weapon. During the Cold War, the UK’s nuclear submarines were part of NATO’s targeted planning of USSR sites to allow NATO to launch a nuclear counter strike independent of national orders. Such drastic planning for the remote circumstances of a full-scale nuclear war were part of the stalemate that prevented the Cold War from ever becoming hot and prevented ‘nuclear blackmail’ of Europe.

Today, India and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are part of the fragile balancing act between the nations that has prevented full-scale war. With Russia’s expansionist conduct in Georgia, the Ukraine, and their actions in Syria, it would be impossible not rule out Russia as a threat to global peace and stability. The threat of Nuclear weapons might not deter Islamic State, but between states they have the powerful effect of raising the stakes to a point at which conventional warfare becomes too dangerous to contemplate. As the victim of nuclear weapons, Japan has long avoided them, but with tensions with China in the East China Sea, there have even been calls in Japan to develop nuclear weapons. Given the global trend towards proliferation, unilateral abandonment of nuclear weapons is considered by many to pose a major risk to the UK’s security.

Submarine-based nuclear weapons give the UK the ability to hide their nuclear weapons, and to fire them independent of communication. One of the first jobs an incoming UK Prime Minister has is to sit and write the instructions to nuclear submarines that sit in their safes while on patrol, to be opened in the event of nuclear war. These “letters of last resort” are part of the system that ensures the UK’s nuclear deterrent is a functioning deterrent in all circumstances. At any one time the UK has a submarine carrying 16 nuclear missiles, each capable of hitting targets 7,000 miles away. Each missile has a dozen independent warheads with the power to destroy a city. There is no scenario in which the destruction of 192 cities is a good outcome, but the chilling effect of Trident is to massively discourage aggression against the UK or nuclear blackmail by states against the UK. There are even rumours that Margaret Thatcher persuaded French President François Mitterrand to give the UK the codes to disable Argentina’s French missiles during the Falklands war by threatening to fire a nuclear weapon at Argentina. Such is the persuasive power of such weapons in conflict, even when they are not deployed.

Britain’s nuclear deterrent is an expensive one, but it is estimated that up to 15,000 jobs depend on it. Britain has never had to use a nuclear weapon, but there is evidence that having them has assisted the UK in conflict and in peacetime. While the rest of the world continues to pursue them, it would seem prudent to hold on to ours, and to our foremost position in the United Nations. Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t persuade his party even to debate Trident, let alone to vote against it, which will leave Britain’s top military planners, and the British defence industry, sighing with relief.

The Holy War 0f Esau (Genesis 27)


‘Religious cleansing’ touted as largest in history
Published: 13 hour
Cheryl Chumley

ISIS terrorists are plotting to unleash a “nuclear tsunami” on the world, a full-scale assault on those of differing religious beliefs aimed at bringing Earth to its knees in worship of Allah, a German journalist reported, in his new “Inside IS – Ten Days in the Islamic State” investigative book.
Jurgen Todenhofer served in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party and then jumped ship to journalism in 2000 as a war correspondent. In that capacity, he spent 10 days with ISIS under the careful watch of world-known beheader “Jihadi John,” Israel National News reported.

Among his findings: “The terrorists plan on killing several hundred million people. The West is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS,” he wrote.

Todenhofer said the terror group’s plan is to obtain nuclear capability and unleash “nuclear tsunami preparing the largest religious cleansing in history,” Israel National News said.

“House of War: Islam’s Jihad Against the World” conveys what the West needs to know about Islam and the violent, expansionary ideology that seeks the subjugation and destruction of other faiths, cultures and systems of government

He also confirmed ISIS “now control[s] land greater in size than the United Kingdom and are supported by an almost ecstatic enthusiasm the like of which I’ve never encountered before in a war zone [and] every day hundreds of willing fighters from all over the world come.”

And lest the world doubt: “They are the most brutal and most dangerous enemy I have ever seen in my life. I don’t see anyone who has a real chance to stop them. Only Arabs can stop IS. I came back [from my 10 days with them] very pessimistic,” he said.

Scarlet Woman Will Depose Of EX (Revelation 17:4)

Hillary Clinton not sure if Bill Clinton would get West Wing office


Hillary Clinton isn’t sure if former President Clinton would have an office in the West Wing if she is elected president.

“He’s a pretty busy guy, I don’t know anything like that,” Hillary Clinton said after MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked her what role Bill Clinton might play on her team.

“I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch. I just want to be sure that we get the chance to earn the votes of the American people and to win the White House back,” the front-runner for the Democratic nomination said in response to a question about Bill Clinton having a West Wing office.
In the interview airing on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Clinton lauded her husband as a “great adviser” who “knows as much about the economy and how to get jobs created and how to help people see their incomes rise as anybody that I could talk to.”

But she wouldn’t elaborate on the role that the former president would have in her potential administration.

The first lady typically holds an office in the East Wing of the White House, complete with her own staff to work on events and initiatives that stem from her office. But Bill Clinton would be a presidential spouse like no other, both because of his gender and his own eight-year tenure in the White House.

China And Pakistan Nuclear Powers At Sea (Daniel 7)

Revealed: Why China Is Selling Submarines to Pakistan

Does the sale represent a step in China’s possible ambitions to have a toehold in the Indian Ocean?
By Benjamin David Baker
September 28, 2015

As previously covered by The Diplomat, Pakistan announced earlier this year that it has agreed to purchase eight modified Type 41 Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines from China. These boats will provide Islamabad with much-needed Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities against the Indian Navy in case of war. This would be especially useful in case of an Indian blockade of Pakistan’s coast and could give New Delhi grounds to pause before deploying its planned new aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant.

A Yuan-class submarine is undoubtedly a great piece of kit. It is China’s first class of submarines to incorporate an indigenously designed- and constructed Air-Independent Propulsion system (AIP), giving it a cruise speed of 18 knots and an operational range of 8,000 nautical miles. Although the export version of the Yuan, named the S-20, does not automatically come fitted with the AIP, Pakistan has apparently been able to secure it for its subs. Furthermore, the Yuan is integrated “with advanced noise reduction techniques including anechoic tiles, passive/active noise reduction and an asymmetrical seven-blade skewed propeller.”

Combined with the AIP, this makes the Yuan-class the quietest non-nuclear sub in the PLAN. Furthermore, the Yuan has an impressive set of teeth. Aside from six tubes firing standard 553mm torpedoes, it is equipped with the YJ-8/8A Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (ASCM). While this weapon only has a maximum range of between 30-42 km, there are plans to equip the Yuans with the YJ-18 ASCM. These missiles have a reported range of 220 km and, represent a real A2/AD “force multiplier” for the Yuan. Whether Pakistan will attempt to acquire these missiles, or opt to go for another option (such as their indigenously produced Hatf VII Babur) is unknown.

The sale raises one crucial question: why is China selling Pakistan these subs? There is undoubtedly a commercial aspect to this transaction (it is unknown how much Pakistan will pay for these boats, although it is certainly in the multi-billion dollar range). However, one potential reason which is worrying analysts in New Delhi is that this represents a step in China’s possible ambitions to have a toehold in the Indian Ocean. Without opening the can of worms that is the “String of Pearls” debate, it’s worth looking at this possibility.

Here are the facts: Firstly, the Indian Ocean is important for China for a range of reasons. The amount of Chinese sea-borne trade which passes through the Indian Ocean sea-lane is staggering. These sea-lines of communication (SLOCs) represent a lifeline for the Chinese economy, not least in terms of imports of natural resources, especially hybrocarbons, and exports, in terms of manufactured goods. Any naval strategist worth his salt has read Alfred Thayer Mahan, and will immediately recognize the importance of securing a trading state’s SLOCs. China is no exception.

Secondly, China has recently deployed submarines to the Indian Ocean. (This, incidentally, included the visit of a Yuan-class boat to Karachi.) According to Beijing, these are primarily there to participate in the ongoing anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden. While this is at least partially true, it is also likely that they are conducting exercises, surveys, and perhaps even combat patrols which can be useful for future operations in the Indian Ocean. Thirdly, Beijing does care about its image and is “realistic” about its power-projection capabilities. According to a recent US Naval War College report, it’s unlikely that China will construct overseas bases in the same way that the United States or France have in the near future in fear of alarming other stakeholders and overstretching naval resources needed closer to home. Finally, China is a long way from the Indian Ocean, and Pakistan is its closest partner in the neighborhood.

Even if its subs can stay at sea for months without refueling at a time, its crews can’t. Having a well-fitted anchorage close to a submarine’s intended area of operations makes it much easier to rotate crews, take on fresh supplies, and carry out maintenance. The PLAN has already called on ports in Oman, Djibouti, and Aden during its anti-piracy campaigns in the Gulf of Aden. However, this has so far only included surface vessels. Submarines often require more specialized facilities to function effectively. Locating a resupply place (not base) in the friendliest state in the area makes sense.

A Pakistani naval facility which already berths compatible subs sounds like a good fit for such a “place.” It would remove the need to permanently station a large number of personnel and equipment abroad, while providing adequate maintenance facilities for the sort of routine repairs that submarines unavoidably need in order to function smoothly over long periods of time. This wouldn’t represent the first time this kind of arrangement has occurred. For example, the British Oberon-class was used by several other allied states during the Cold War, including Australia and Canada. The fact that these navies operated the same class of vessels facilitated maintenance during exercises and visits

Iran’s President Pushes For Iran Hegemony (Daniel 8:4)

Iran’s President Rouhani wants global role after nuclear deal

Oren Dorell, USA TODAY

UNITED NATIONS — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday praised the recent Iran nuclear deal as a model for solving future international conflicts, including a global confrontation against extremism.

The nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran was “the first time (that) two sides, rather than negotiating peace after war, engaged in a dialogue of understanding before the eruption of conflict,” Rouhani said during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly.
The accord “should herald a new era” and be the basis for change in the region, he said.
The five countries that form the permanent U.N. Security Council — the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China — and Germany negotiated the deal with Iran.

The agreement includes eventual relief of sanctions that were imposed on Iran for violating the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Lifting the sanctions could pave the way for oil-rich Iran to become an export hub in the Middle East, said Rouhani, who was elected on a platform of economic development and integration with the world community.

“We want to suggest a new constructive way to base international order,” Rouhani said. “Peace alongside development lets anger and resentment dissipate. The only way to uproot terrorism in the Middle East is to undermine its economic and social causes.”

Rouhani said Iran will demonstrate how the nuclear agreement reached through diplomacy can produce economic development.

Iran, however, is the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism, according to the U.S. State Department. The department lists Iran’s support for the murderous regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Iran also supports Shiite militias in Iraq that are fighting Islamic State militants alongside U.S.-backed and U.S.-trained Iraqi and Kurdish government forces in that country.

Iran’s human rights record is also cause for concern, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, which said the country’s 753 executions last year are more numerous than almost anywhere else in the world.

In his speech Monday, Rouhani offered to lead a global effort based on how the nuclear deal was reached to fight ignorance, poverty, terrorism and violence.

“I would like to invite the whole world to form a (joint effort) to create a united front against extremism and violence,” he said.

Rouhani said the U.S. approach, which he characterized as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and support for “the Zionist regime” — Israel — gives terrorists “justification for their actions.”
He said the way to tackle regional conflict is through dialogue and cooperation with the central governments to establish stability — and then build democratic governance in the Middle East region.

A key factor in the Iran nuclear deal was the willingness to find a middle ground that benefited all sides at the bargaining table, Rouhani said.

“The interest of both parties should be taken into account … and win-win solutions should be the basis for agreement,” he said.

The Sixth Seal Will Be On The East (Revelation 6:12)

Did You Feel It? East vs West: This image illustrates how earthquakes are felt over much larger areas in the eastern U.S. than those west of the Rocky Mountains. The map compares USGS

Did You Feel It? East vs West: This image illustrates how earthquakes are felt over much larger areas in the eastern U.S. than those west of the Rocky Mountains. The map compares USGS “Did You Feel It?” data from the magnitude 5.8 earthquake on August 23, 2011 in central Virginia (green) to data from an earthquake of similar magnitude and depth in California (red). ((High resolution image)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquakes
Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances
Released: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”
This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.
“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2 from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.
Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Quake reported near Schoharie County dam

USGS This map provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the epicenter of the earthquake reported near Gilboa, and areas where residents reported feeling the quake.

Updated 9 hours ago

A minor earthquake was reported in Schoharie County late Saturday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The USGS website reports the magnitude-3 earthquake struck near the Upper Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir, east of Mine Kill State Park, in North Blenheim, at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The reservoir, which sits 2,000 feet up at the top of Brown Mountain, holds 5 billion gallons of water, which are fed into the New York Power Authority’s Pumped Storage Power Project to generate hydroelectric power. A second reservoir sits at the base of the mountain. The two bodies of water are open to seasonal boating and fishing at NYPA’s discretion.

The 17.6 billion-gallon Gilboa Dam is less than five miles away from the Power Authority. A hydrograph of the Schoharie Creek at the Gilboa Dam on Sunday night showed that water levels were below flood stage, and falling.

The quake, which originated more than 8 miles under the surface, was felt by some in the Gilboa and Stamford areas, and as far away as Schoharie and Cobleskill (about 30 miles from the quake site). The USGS website indicates only a handful of reports from anyone who felt the quake.

I felt it … thought it was the train,” Ketina Delgado wrote on The Daily Star’s Facebook page. “Thought it felt like an earthquake cause my bed was shaking too hard and I even heard some car alarms go off couple of times.”

According to USGS, a magnitude-3 earthquake is considered minor, and is unlikely to cause damage to buildings.
No one from NYPA was available Sunday to comment on the status of the dam.

Antichrist’s Men Prepare to Fight ISIS (Revelation 13:18)

Iraqi tribes ready to join anti-ISIS volunteer forces, says PMU official

By Dina al-Shibeeb | Al Arabiya News
Monday, 28 September 2015

Haitham al-Mayahi, the U.S.-based director of the international relations office of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), told Al Arabiya News recently that 20 tribal sheikhs from the western Iraqi province of Anbar, who fought al-Qaeda in the last decade, are ready to join forces to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

The Iran-backed PMU was formed from Shiite armed groups and volunteers after a fatwa (an Islamic religious edict) by the influential spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite majority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, calling Iraqis to fight ISIS.

Since then, the PMU’s reputation for its hard-hitting and “willing to die” fighters emerged after Iraq’s army abandoned the country’s second largest city of Mosul last June. Their power intensified after the Iraqi army then lost Anbar’s Ramadi in May.

While some PMU members were criticized for human rights violations after they took back the late President Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit in April, they continue to be considered by observers as a necessary component for ISIS’s defeat in the city.

In an interview, the Washington-based Mayahi, who recently returned from two months in Iraq, discussed the future formation for a whole new PMU and a new vision to create an all-inclusive unit to defeat ISIS, pleading for U.S. arms.

Mayahi also warned that ISIS were eyeing an attack on the capital Baghdad, citing inside intelligence.

After outreaching to the tribal sheikhs, who expressed their wish to join the PMU, they and Mayahi sent a letter in early September to the PMU’s leader, as well as Prime Minister Haider Abadi.
The tribal leaders had fought in a period starting from 2006 in a coalition known as the Awakening. Together, they managed to defeat al-Qaeda in 2008.

While PMU includes other four brigades which are not Shiites – one Sunni, two Christian groups and a Yazidi – the members of the Awakening have insufficient weapons nor have the governmental approval to be part of the fight, as fears still linger on whether they should be included.

Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki mistrusted the Awakening, fearing that the armed Sunnis could become a problem for his Shiite-dominated government after the defeat of al-Qaeda, leaving them marginalized.

Korea Prepares For Another Nuclear Launch (Daniel 7)

Satellite, missile test or space junk? North Korea readies launch

3 Hours Ago


The satellite that North Korea launched into space three years ago circles the earth every 95 minutes at an altitude of about 540 km (335 miles), its orbit decaying.

No signal has ever been detected from the crude-looking 100-kg (220-pound) hunk of black metal that the North said was mounted with cameras to take images and transmit them back to Pyongyang.
The North is planning another satellite launch next month, re-igniting fears that it is really testing a system to deliver nuclear weapons. The secretive state is already under international sanctions for its nuclear and missile tests.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said this month the North’s plan to launch a new satellite, which could be timed around the 70th anniversary of its ruling party on Oct 10, would be a disguised missile test. The United States has said such a launch could lead to more sanctions.
North Korea says its space program is peaceful and any attempt to stop it is an attack on its sovereignty.

While many observers were impressed that Pyongyang managed to put an object into orbit in 2012, German aerospace engineer Markus Schiller said in a 2013 analysis that the mission was a “low performance” event and “not a game changer.”

“Nothing that has happened in the past years has changed my assessment,” Schiller told Reuters this week, despite further short-range missile launches by Pyongyang using existing technology.
“Most of these activities still seem to be more motivated by political reasons than by engineering ones,” he said.

The North’s space agency said last week it is building a new satellite and readying it for launch, possibly around Oct. 10, which suggests it has made advances in developing a ballistic missile.
South Korea’s defense ministry said this week it had not detected any signs of preparations at the main launch site, about 50 km from the Chinese border.

While a satellite launch utilizes technology also found in ballistic missiles, the thrust and speed of the launch vehicle, as well as the point of engine cut-off, are different. Also, a missile must be designed for its warhead to withstand the stress of atmosphere re-entry, which is not the case when putting a satellite into space and leaving it there.

Soviet technology

North Korea’s successful December 2012 satellite launch came after a failed attempt earlier that year, an embarrassment for its new young leader, Kim Jong Un.

He had taken over from his father, who died in December 2011, and was trying to make a mark as the leader of a country that had defied years of international pressure and sanctions in pursuit of missile and nuclear weapons programs.

The satellite was propelled by North Korea’s Unha-3, a home grown three-stage rocket based on 1950s Soviet Scud missile technology, with advanced fuel used in its final stage. Unha is Korean for galaxy.

South Korean and U.S. officials, as well as space experts, said after the launch that no signal was ever detected from the object, whose orbit can be tracked online. (here)
The design and engineering that made the 30-metre-high Unha 3 suitable to launch a satellite make it a poor vehicle to deliver weapons, largely because launch preparations are difficult to hide due to the time it takes to assemble the rocket, stand it up and fuel it.

A new launch vehicle has yet to be spotted by satellite imagery, with its location still unknown.
“Preparations for the Unha-3, and whatever new space launch vehicle they might roll out, will be observable well in advance of a launch,” said Daniel Pinkston, a visiting fellow at Babes-Bolyai University in Romania.

“So it is not a system that can be used for any military objective,” said Pinkston, who has studied the North’s political and weapons strategy.

Still, the North’s pursuit of long-range rocket technology should be taken seriously because of potential capabilities it might acquire in the future, Pinkston added.

“It should be clear how important these capabilities are to the leadership because they are expensive and difficult to acquire,” he said.