The following is an excerpt from James Oberg | April 27, 2012 | msnbc.com |
Looking back on what we were shown — and what was not shown — during our unprecedented press tour of North Korea’s space facilities, I realize that both these aspects of reality had lessons for us. The very absence of some expected features of the trip strongly indicated the presence of important features of North Korea.
That sounds bizarre — how can you see something by not seeing something? But it’s why I was along on the trip. My designation, as shown on my identification tag, was “NBC space consultant,” and that set me apart. It wasn’t the first time.
When I had made my first commercial inspection trip to Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in the mid-1990s, my client had a strange request. His team was considering renting a Russian rocket to launch one of their communications satellites from that spaceport in Kazakhstan.
“Our engineers will evaluate what the Russians are telling us and showing us,” he told me. “Your job will be to find out what they’re not telling or showing us.”
That was actually easier than it sounded. Because of the tightly interlaced themes of “rocket science,” revelations in one area had implications in other areas. A description of one capability or requirement often implied the existence of specific support technologies that did not need to be identified explicitly. Gaps in descriptions — deliberate or accidental — were usually betrayed by those missing links.
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