North Korea Missile Launches, Nuclear Detonations: Timeline

N. Korea Conducts Nuclear Test, S. Korean Equities Slide
  • Missile program began with Soviet SCUD, launchpad from Egypt
  • Pyongyang regime conducted fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on Friday -- the anniversary of the nation’s founding -- and claimed it can now mount nuclear warheads onto rockets.

Here is a history of North Korea’s rocket launches and nuclear detonations:

1976-81: Begins development using SCUD-B missile from the Soviet Union and launchpad from Egypt

1984: First SCUD-B missile test firing

1988: Operational deployment of SCUD-B and SCUD-C missiles

1990: First Rodong missile test firing

1998: Operational deployment of Rodong missiles, which have a range of 1,300 kilometers. Firing of Taepodong-1 missile, which North Korea says was a satellite launch

2005: North Korea announces possession of nuclear weapons and its withdrawal from six-party talks aimed at ending its atomic program

July 2006: Taepodong-2, Rodong and SCUD missiles test firings. Taepodong-2 is a long-range missile that could eventually travel 10,000 kilometers and be able to strike targets in the U.S.

Oct. 2006: Korean Central News Agency announces “a successful nuclear test”

2007: Operational deployment of Rodong missiles

April 2009: Firing of Taepodong-2 missile, which North Korea says was satellite launch. United Nations strengthens sanctions and North Korea responds by withdrawing from six-party nuclear disarmament talks

May 2009: North Korea carries out second nuclear test

July 2009: Test-firing of SCUD and Rodong missiles

Kim Jong-Il’s funeral procession in Pyongyang on Dec. 28, 2011
Kim Jong-Il’s funeral procession in Pyongyang on Dec. 28, 2011
Photographer: Kyodo News/AFP/Getty Images

Dec. 2011: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dies, clearing way for son Kim Jong Un to take power

April 2012: North Korea says Unha-3 rocket launch failed

Dec. 2012: North Korea launches Unha-3 rocket that puts its first satellite into space

Feb. 2013: North Korea conducts third underground nuclear test

Aug. 2013: North Korea reported to have restarted nuclear reactor to produce plutonium

May 2015: North Korea claims to have tested a submarine-launched missile; says it developed technology to mount nuclear warhead on a missile

North Korea’s underwater ballistic missile launch in May 2015.
North Korea’s underwater ballistic missile launch in May 2015.
Photographer:Ahn Young-oon/AP Photo

July 2014: North Korea conducts series of missile tests ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Seoul

Sept. 2015: North Korea threatens nuclear attack against U.S. and reaffirms its main reactor is operational. South Korean President Park Geun Hye says North would "pay a price" for fourth test

Dec. 2015 Kim Jong Un says North Korea is “ready to detonate” a hydrogen bomb

Jan. 6, 2016: North Korea says it successfully tests hydrogen bomb

Feb. 7, 2016: North Korea launches a long-range rocket that it says successfully put a satellite into orbit

August 24, 2016

North Korea successfully launches a ballistic missile from a submarine

Sept 5, 2016

North Korea fires three ballistic missiles about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), at least one of which entered Japan’s air defense zone

Sept 9, 2016

North Korea conducts fifth test

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