About That Missile Assembly Building

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, what North Korea is calling “Unha-2”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1877/kwangmyongsong-kwangmyongsong-kwangmyongsong is generally described in the Western media as “Taepodong-2.” (Here’s “just one example”:http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0328/p90s04-woap.html.)

This is the same name used for the missile that North Korea “unsuccessfully tested”:http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/07/04/korea.missile/ on July 5, 2006.

But are they really the same missile?

Here’s an orbital happy snap of the missile assembly building at the Musudan-Ri Missile Test Facility / “Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1877/kwangmyongsong-kwangmyongsong-kwangmyongsong, dated “June 9, 2006”:http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/html/dg_no-dong_20060609-01.htm.

And here’s the same thing, dated “March 29, 2009”:http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/images/musudan-ri-vcb_ge1_090329-1.jpg.

It’s gotten longer, with an extension on the south end. Does that imply a taller missile?

Beats me. But it’s interesting to compare Geoff Forden’s “silhouette”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/2233/dprk-reading-between-the-blurs of the just-unveiled rocket with Charles Vick’s “speculative sketches”:http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/images/taepo-dong-2.jpg ca. 2004. That first stage certainly looks bigger and taller than expected.

Now “they fuel”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1938/weekend-project and “we wait”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1880/northeast-is-red.

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