Encyclopedia Astronautica
Taepodong 1



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Taepodong 1
North Korean first space launch vehicle.
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Taepodong 1
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Taepodong
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Taepodong 1
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Taepodong 1
North Korean orbital launch vehicle. The third stage for the satellite launch version was probably a small solid rocket engine. It failed to reach orbit in the 1998 launch attempt, and later such tests are believed to have used a different design.

North Korea announced the launch of its first satellite on 31 August 1998. Despite these claims no foreign observer ever detected the satellite visually, by radar, or picked up its radio signals. The Pentagon at first claimed it was an ICBM launch, and that the satellite story was just a cover for the test. However on further analysis of the data collected on the launch they admitted nearly a month later that there had been a satellite launch attempt. What seems to have happened is that the third stage either failed and fell into the Pacific or misfired and put the satellite into a low orbit where it decayed very quickly before it could be detected by foreign observers.

The No-Dong 1 IRBM first stage used a cluster of four rocket engines derived from the ‘Scud-C' version produced by the North Koreans. These missiles were developed and put into production in North Korea with assistance from Russian technicians from the Makeyev design bureau in the Gorbachev era. The specifics of the vehicle provided here are according to a 1998 Russian engineering analysis of the publicly released information and video.

The Taepodong 1 was the first of what was expected to be a proliferation of ICBM and satellite launchers in the hands of smaller developing countries. However, by a decade later, these had not materialized, highlighting the difficulties in getting from a single-stage intermediate range missile to a multi-stage space launcher or ICBM

North Korea reported the launch of its first satellite as follows:

Our scientists and technicians have succeeded in launching the first artificial satellite aboard a multi-stage rocket into orbit. The rocket was launched in the direction of 86 degrees at a launching station in Musudan-ri, Hwadae county, North Hamgyong Province (40.8 deg N, 129.7 deg E) at 12:07 August 31, 1998 and correctly put the satellite into orbit at 12 hours 11 minutes 53 seconds in four minutes 53 seconds.

The rocket is of three stages. The first stage was separated from the rocket 95 seconds after the launch and fell on the open waters of the East Sea of Korea 253 km off the launching station, that is 40 degrees 51 minutes north latitude 139 degrees 40 minutes east longitude. The second stage opened the capsule in 144 seconds, separated itself from the rocket in 266 seconds and fell on the open waters of the Pacific 1,646 km off from the launching station, that is 40 degrees 13 minutes north latitude 149 degrees 07 minutes east longitude. The third stage put the satellite into orbit 27 seconds after the separation of the second stage.

The satellite is running along the oval orbit 218.82 km in the nearest distance from the earth and 6,978.2 km in the farthest distance. Its period is 165 minutes 6 seconds. The satellite is equipped with necessary sounding instruments. It will contribute to promoting scientific research for peaceful use of outer space. It is also instrumental in confirming the calculation basis for the launch of practical satellites in the future. The satellite is now transmitting the melody of the immortal revolutionary hymns ‘Song of General Kim Il Sung' and ‘Song of General Kim Jong Il' and the Morse signals ‘Juche Korea' in 27 MHz. The rocket and satellite which our scientists and technicians correctly put into orbit at one launch are a fruition of our wisdom and technology 100 percent. The successful launch of the first artificial satellite in the DPRK greatly encourages the Korean people in the efforts to build a powerful socialist state under the wise leadership of General Secretary Kim Jong Il.

This announcement was followed on September 14 by the release of a photograph of the satellite and the claim that the satellite had completed its 100th orbit of the earth between 08:24 and 11:17 local time (2017 GMT) on September 13. Video of the launch, the satellite, and an animation of the satellite in orbit around the earth were distributed to foreign news agencies the following weekend. The satellite appeared almost identical to the first Chinese test satellite (which itself appeared almost identical to the US Telstar of the 1960's).

LEO Payload: 6.00 kg (13.20 lb) to a 220 km orbit at 40.00 degrees. Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1998-08-31. Last Fail Date: 1998-08-31.

Stage Data - Taepodong 1

  • Stage 1. 1 x Taepodong 1-1. Gross Mass: 25,649 kg (56,546 lb). Empty Mass: 3,733 kg (8,229 lb). Thrust (vac): 577.337 kN (129,791 lbf). Isp: 255 sec. Burn time: 95 sec. Isp(sl): 232 sec. Diameter: 1.80 m (5.90 ft). Span: 2.70 m (8.80 ft). Length: 12.00 m (39.00 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/UDMH. No Engines: 4. Engine: Nodong. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Taepodong 1-2. Gross Mass: 7,505 kg (16,545 lb). Empty Mass: 1,456 kg (3,209 lb). Thrust (vac): 144.334 kN (32,448 lbf). Isp: 255 sec. Burn time: 176 sec. Isp(sl): 232 sec. Diameter: 0.96 m (3.14 ft). Span: 1.10 m (3.60 ft). Length: 12.00 m (39.00 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/UDMH. No Engines: 1. Engine: Nodong. Status: In Production. Comments: Included 100 kg spin table for spin-up of third stage prior to release. Burn time is 33.7 seconds at full thrust, 142.3 seconds at half thrust.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Taepodong 1-3. Gross Mass: 252 kg (555 lb). Empty Mass: 50 kg (110 lb). Thrust (vac): 18.330 kN (4,121 lbf). Isp: 250 sec. Burn time: 27 sec. Diameter: 0.30 m (0.98 ft). Span: 0.30 m (0.98 ft). Length: 1.80 m (5.90 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Status: In production.

AKA: Pekdosan-1.
Status: Retired 1998.
Gross mass: 33,406 kg (73,647 lb).
Payload: 6.00 kg (13.20 lb).
Height: 25.80 m (84.60 ft).
Diameter: 1.80 m (5.90 ft).
Thrust: 525.25 kN (118,081 lbf).
Apogee: 220 km (130 mi).
First Launch: 1998.08.31.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Kwangmyongsong North Korean communications technology satellite. One launch, 1998.08.31. Payload of the first attempted North Korean satellite launch. More...

Associated Engines
  • Nodong North Korean Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 144 kN. In production. Isp=255s. Used in North Korean missiles and Taepodong 1 satellite launcher. Derived from Isayev designs developed for Scud missiles and SLBM's of the Makeyev bureau. First flight 1998. More...

See also
  • A4 The V-2, known as the A4 to its developers, was the basis for most of the rocketry that exists in the world today. It was ineffective as a weapon of war, but represented a quantum leap in technology. The A1, A2, A3, and A5 were steps in the development of the missile. Later versions - the A6 through A12 - were planned to take the Third Reich to the planets. More...
  • Taepodong North Korean long-range ballitic missile and satellite launch vehicle consisted of a No-Dong 1 IRBM as the first stage, and a derivative of the Scud-C SRBM as the second stage. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Gitdaeryung North Korean intermediate missile base, south east of Wonson, said to be capable of launching Scud-C's, SCUD-X's and Nodong-A ballistic missiles. Known to have been used for 18 launches from 1984 to 2006, reaching up to 200 kilometers altitude. More...

Associated Stages
  • Taepodong 1-1 Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 25,649/3,733 kg. Thrust 577.34 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 255 seconds. More...
  • Taepodong 1-2 Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 7,505/1,456 kg. Thrust 144.33 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 255 seconds. Included 100 kg spin table for spin-up of third stage prior to release. Burn time is 33.7 seconds at full thrust, 142.3 seconds at half thrust. More...
  • Taepodong 1-3 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 252/50 kg. Thrust 18.33 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 250 seconds. More...

Taepodong 1 Chronology


1998 August 31 - . 03:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Gitdaeryung. LV Family: Taepodong. Launch Vehicle: Taepodong 1. FAILURE: Third stage failure.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Kwangmyongsong 1 - . Nation: Korea North. Agency: Choson. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Kwangmyongsong. COSPAR: F980831A. North Korea reported the launch of its first satellite on the first of September. This announcement was followed on September 14 by the release of a photograph of the satellite and the claim that the satellite had completed its 100th orbit of the earth between 08:24 and 11:17 local time (2017 GMT) on September 13. Video of the launch, the satellite, and an animation of the satellite in orbit around the earth were distributed to foreign news agencies the following weekend. The satellite appeared almost identical to the first Chinese test satellite (which itself appeared almost identical to the US Telstar).

    Despite these claims no foreign observer ever detected the satellite visually, by radar, or picked up its radio signals. The Pentagon at first claimed it was an ICBM launch, and that the satellite story was just a cover for the test. However on further analysis of the data collected on the launch they admitted nearly a month later that there had been some a satellite launch attempt. What seems to have happened is that the third stage either failed and fell into the Pacific or misfired and put the satellite into a low orbit where it decayed very quickly before it could be detected by foreign observers. Additional Details: here....


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