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