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North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site

Commercial satellite imaging will soon allow individuals and organizations to access whole-of-earth imagery, updated daily. This has empowered experts outside of government who track nuclear weapons development in North Korea, like those writing at 38north.org, to better analyze and monitor that country’s nuclear and missile tests.

For example, Frank Pabian and David Coblentz recently used satellite imagery analysis to estimate the maximum explosive power of a nuclear test at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.

Such analysis used to be exclusive to nation states with the capability to put satellites in orbit. Now experts at universities and elsewhere can use Google Earth.

Source: Frank Pabian and David Coblentz, “North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Analysis Reveals Its Potential for Additional Testing with Significantly Higher Yields,” 38 North, 3/10/17.


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The Spring 2017 issue of Courier provides insight and perspective on different global policy areas, including mass atrocity prevention in the Gambia and climate change agricultural innovation in Morocco. This issue also features a special look at the global order by Stanley Foundation president, Keith Porter; a feature on the struggle of a Somalian refugee hoping to resettle in the US; and a Q&A from our latest explorer award winner. The full Spring 2017 issue. PDF (1,151K) Subscribe for FREE.

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