North Korea’s latest rocket engine test indicated that the isolated country is making “meaningful progress” in its efforts to build more rockets and missiles.
North Korea had conducted a ground jet test of a newly developed high-thrust missile engine, The New York Times reported today.
"The test heralded a new birth of the country’s rocket industry and the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries," North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un was quoted as saying.
Further, South Korea admitted Monday that the test represented a breakthrough. Lee Jin-woo, a spokesman at the Defense Ministry, said that the test showed that North is developing a more sophisticated rocket engine.
The model that the North tested included a cluster consisting of a main engine and four vernier thrusters, smaller engines used to adjust the craft’s velocity and stability.
The country has also renovated and expanded the gantry tower and other facilities at the launch site to accommodate more rockets.
The test of the rocket engine took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in Tongchang-ri, in northwestern North Korea, where the country fired a carrier rocket in February of last year to place its Kwangmyongsong, or Shining Star, satellite into orbit.
The Unha rocket used in the launch, if reconfigured as a missile, could fly more than 7,400 miles with a warhead of 1,100 to 1,300 pounds which is enough to reach the United States, South Korean defense officials said following the launch.