April 26 (UPI) — A civilian satellite has for the first time captured an image of what appears to be a North Korean road mobile launcher.
The transporter erector launcher was seen about 6 miles away from Panghyon airfield in Kusong, a city in North Pyongan Province, Voice of America reported.
Digital Globe, a U.S. commercial vendor of space imagery, took the photograph on March 13, according to the report.
A flat rectangular structure, presumably a launch pad measuring 30 by 18 meters, could be seen from above.
The image also showed a launcher had been raised at a 90-degree angle.
The vehicle carrying the launcher measured about 10 meters in length.
North Korea typically moves its road mobile launchers early morning or at night, in order to escape detection, VOA stated.
Nick Hansen, a researcher at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said the road-mobile launcher identified by satellite is similar to the vehicle used during North Korea’s Feb. 12 launch of a midrange ballistic missile.
At the time, North Korea had stated it was launching the Pukguksong-2 on a new transporter erector launcher.
The satellite image also captured new facilities next to the vehicle.
The launch pad was adjacent to an identically sized platform, and an L-shaped structure was also seen nearby.
Hansen said it is possible the facility was created for training purposes.
The presence of two launch pads could means North Korea could train two road mobile launchers simultaneously at the site, the researcher said.