The government of North Korea alleges to have a space program, the National Aerospace Development Administration. NADA turned one year old this week, and to commemorate the milestone, the government of North Korea took the NASA logo, put a different constellation on it, and called it their own.
According to North Korea’s Central News Agency, NADA “has pushed ahead with space development projects to turn the country into a space power, fully exercising its right to peaceful development of the space on a legal basis.” The report does not note any individual projects that the NADA has undertaken in space, or whether it would in the future.
What it does do is describe the new logo for the agency, which looks almost exactly like the NASA logo. It highlights the one major difference in the logos: the NADA logo has the Big Dipper on the top, while NASA’s logo has unspecified stars drawn on it. “The Great Bear,” it explains, “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 report is wrong to call the depiction “The Great Bear;” the illustration does not show all of Ursa Major, only the Big Dipper.
The Guardian, which was the first outlet to discover the logo, notes that the acronym NADA is appropriate for a space program that appears not to have accomplished anything: the name is “an unfortunate coincidence given this seems to be what the country’s only successfully launched satellite is transmitting to Earth, leading overseas scientists to assume it has malfunctioned.” That missile caused concerns among the international community, as it appeared to be an attempt to keep an intercontinental ballistic missile in space and target enemies, but it is now presumed to have completely failed.
Last January, North Korean state media published an editorial in which it referred to the North Korean people as “space conquerers” five different times, praising the “white gem-like loyalty of space conquerors who carried out the behests of leader Kim Jong Il to the letter.”
Last month, Kim “won” reelection in a state-sponsored election in which he received 100% of the vote with 100% turnout. North Korean state media cheered the success, as an expression of “absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong Un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him.”