Photos of North Korea's newest rocket
April 8th, 2012
09:03 PM ET

Photos of North Korea's newest rocket

By Adam Levine

In an unprecedented move, North Korea allowed international media, including CNN's Stan Grant, Tim Schwarz and Scott Clotworthy, to visit its Tongchang-ri launch site and see, for the first time, the Unha-3 rocket being readied for its launch.

North Korean crew works on the booster stage of the Unha-3

Until now satellite imagery had shown preparations of the launch pad but no rocket had been seen.  These are the first pictures of the rocket, taken by CNN's Tim Schwarz.

Middle section of the Unha-3 rocket

As Stan Grant reports, the Kim Jong-Un government opened up the launch pad to the media intending to prove it is launching a satellite for scientific research, and not a missile test.  Still, much of the world suspects this is the launching of the next phase of the regime's missile program, meant to test missile technology under the guise of a satellite launch.

North Korea's Unha-3 rocket sits on the launch pad

The head of the launch site, Jang Myong Jin, told CNN's Stan Grant he is "disturbed" by these allegations.

"Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile, this is why we invited you," Jang Myong Jin told CNN's crew.

Unha-3 on the launch pad

The tour included the launch pad, the satellite itself, and the control center. (see the video here).

North Korean soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 rocket

The launch is scheduled to take place between April 12 and 16th to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of communist North Korea's founder, and grandfather of the current leader, Kim Il Sung.

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