Pyongyang reportedly tested the spy satellite’s data transmission and reception system, as well as its ground-based control systems.

A reconnaissance satellite is among a long wish-list of new weapons systems that Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to introduce to cope with what he calls US hostility.
A reconnaissance satellite is among a long wish-list of new weapons systems that Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to introduce to cope with what he calls US hostility. (Reuters)

North Korea has performed key tests needed to develop a spy satellite, in the second such tests in about a week, indicating the country intends to conduct a prohibited long-range rocket launch soon.

On Sunday, the North’s Korean Central News Agency said it had conducted “another important test” the previous day under its plan to develop a reconnaissance satellite.

It said authorities tested the satellite’s data transmission and reception system and its ground-based control systems.

The KCNA dispatch didn’t directly mention any missile or rocket launches to conduct such satellite-related tests, but apparently referred to the North’s ninth round of missile launches this year, spotted on Saturday.

READ MORE: North Korea conducts ‘significant’ test for developing spy satellite

'Coping with US hostility'

The moves come as North Korea has been carrying out a spate of ballistic missile launches in what experts call an attempt to add new weapons systems to its arsenal.

Experts also interpret the launches as a means to pressure the United States into making concessions amid stalled diplomacy.

North Korea said it tested a camera designed to be placed on a reconnaissance satellite and released space-based photos of Earth last Monday, a day after its rivals said it conducted a ballistic missile launch.

A reconnaissance satellite is among a long wish-list of new weapons systems that Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to introduce to cope with what he calls US hostility.

To operate a spy satellite, North Korea must launch a long-range rocket to put it into orbit. 

The United Nations bans such a launch because it is considered as a cover for testing long-range missile technology.

It’s unclear if North Korea has developed a sufficiently capable camera to be installed on a spy satellite, as the satellite photos the country released last Monday didn’t include high-resolution imagery.

North Korea put its first and second Earth observation satellites into orbit in 2012 and 2016. Those launches are believed to have contributed to a missile development program.

READ MORE: North Korea fires 'potential ballistic missile'

Source: TRTWorld and agencies