Tonghae, also known as Musudan-ri, is a satellite launching facility located on the coast of North Hamgyong Province. The site is positioned beside the East Sea (Sea of Japan) in order to provide a clear path for eastward launches over the sea.

Initially, the DPRK conducted its launches from a site in South Pyongan Province called Hwajin-ri. However, as the power of each successive rocket grew stronger, there was a risk that missile tests would threaten the sovereignty of Chinese territorial waters; for this reason, Tonghae was completed in the mid-1980s and became the primary testing site for various missiles (many of which were variants of the Scud missile).


In 1998, the Tonghae site saw the first satellite launch attempt by Pyongyang as part of the Kwangmyongsong programme. The probe, launched atop a Paektusan rocket, launched on the 31st of August and was announced as a success by the Korean Central News Agency on September 4th. A second launch occurred in 2009 but the probe failed to reach orbit.

Engineers departing the launch pad
Liftoff from Tonghae
Kwangmyongsong-1 satellite model
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