North Korea’s space program has goals that are out of this world, literally. And it hasn't managed to reach any of them yet. But on its first anniversary, at least it got a new name and logo.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency announced the nation’s newest aeronautics endeavor, the National Aeronautics Development Agency, or NADA. While Spanish-speakers may recognize that this acronym probably is not the best choice -- “nada” in Spanish means “nothing” -- North Korea is excited to “turn the country into a space power, fully exercising its right to peaceful development” of space. The agency also revealed a rebranded NADA logo, which bears a remarkably close resemblance to the logo of the American space agency, NASA.
While some may believe the logo is just a quick ripoff of the American counterpart, the design apparently has a profound meaning:
“The emblem of the NADA was recently instituted, which represents its character, mission, position and development prospects. Two light blue-colored rings intercrossing the emblem symbolize satellite orbits. The Great Bear [Big Dipper constellation] reflects the will of the space scientists of the DPRK to glorify Kim Il Sung's and Kim Jong Il's Korea as a space power. The globe represents the DPRK's idea for peaceful development of the space and the rings show the DPRK's will to launch satellite into all orbits.”
While a new name and logo seems to be all that NADA has accomplished, the country has made some developments a little closer to home. North Korea has begun developing several simple unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, that are surprisingly useful for reconnaissance and observation.
An examination of two North Korean-built drones that crashed in South Korea late last month revealed Pyongyang’s technological development push. According to a report by NK News, a Washington, D.C., based publication, the particular aircraft that crashed resembled off-the-shelf model planes, but with some modifications probably taken from the U.S-made MQM-107 target drone. The drones also carried cameras onboard, implying that their intended use was reconnaissance.
In 2012, North Korea claimed it had successfully launched a satellite into orbit. However, experts have not been able to track it or pick up any signals proving it.