Monday 29 April 2024

Imaging North Korea's new satellite Malligyong-1

stack of 100 frames


Last week I finally got my first views of Malligyong-1 (2023-179A), the new reconnaissance satellite which North Korea launched on 21 November 2023 (see this earlier blogpost on the launch, and these and these  Space Review articles  regarding the satellites manoeuvering). As it makes passes in the late evening, it so far had remained hidden in the Earth Shadow, but now summer is approaching it is rappidly becoming visible.

My first detection was on 22 April, when it stayed faint due to unfavourable phase angles, and my second detection was yesterday 28 April, when it was brighter (between mag +7.5 and +6 before disappearing in the Earth shadow), during a 30 degree elevation pass in the east at a range of ~900 km. My impression is that it is a bit fainter than the KMS satellites were (part of this is due to the orbital altitude).

Here is video from April 22, shot with the WATEC 902H2 Supreme and a Samyang 1.2/85 mm lens at 25 fps:


Brightness curve:

click diagram to enlarge

The object was steady over the half minute that I could track it (the drop at the end of the curve is because it was entering earth shadow)

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