PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea’s Space Force has for the first time successfully launched a "totally willing human" into space, according to a press release from the Korean Central News Agency.
“The stars now belong to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the statement reads. “Under the divine guidance of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, the dauntless people of Korea have colonized the heavens. We also thank the courageous cosmonaut Mun Jong Chun, who manned the Kkamjjag Babo rocket, completely of his own free will.”
The rocket name reportedly translates to “Surprise, fool!”
The statement credited the unexpected leap forward in space capabilities to “the divine wisdom of our Supreme Leader, the ceaseless work of the people of our nation, and recent advances in rope.”
Shortly after the launch, North Korean state radio boasted about the achievement.
“Cosmonaut Mun was steadfast and resolute, from the time he left his farm to volunteer as our heavenly emissary, to three days later when he was launched into the void. Kim Il Sung surely smiles upon him.”
American and ROK intelligence agencies admitted to having been caught off guard by North Korea’s sudden attempt at manned space flight.
“They prepped for it right under our noses,” said Capt. David Burgman, a USFK intelligence officer. “We reviewed some imagery, and the only evidence we could see was what looked like deep furrows in the ground from Mun’s farm to the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. This likely resulted from Mun clawing at the ground as he was dragged to the launch pad.”
While the surprise launch was largely condemned by the United States and allies, the North Korean program received lavish praise from Iran.
“We’ve already arranged to purchase a sizable quantity of that rope,” said Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister. “And as we speak, we’re rounding up cosmonauts.”
The atmosphere in Pyongyang was jubilant following the launch. On state television, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was shown smiling and speaking with ranking military members as well as Space Force leadership. At one point, however, Space Force General Pak Ui Chun could be heard asking “When will Comrade Mun return from orbit?” Shortly, thereafter, state radio announced General Pak had courageously volunteered to be the next cosmonaut.