North Korea names space agency 'NADA,' mimics NASA logo

North Korea's newly named space agency sports the unfortunate acronym "NADA" and features a familiar-looking logo.

NADA and NASA logos
The NADA logo next to the NASA logo. Korea Central News Agency/NASA

NASA may well be the most-recognized space agency in all the world, so it's not a big surprise North Korea might want to riff on it when naming its own space agency. That apparent line of thought seems to have ended with the choice of "National Aerospace Development Administration" for the official name.

As a phrase, it sounds pretty impressive. As an acronym, it carries a less-than-desirable meaning in Spanish, as "nada" means "nothing." According to a release from the state-run Korea Central News Agency, NADA's mission is to "put into practice the idea and principle of the DPRK government to develop the space for peaceful purpose."

The release continues with a discussion of how the logo was developed. The two light-blue rings symbolize satellite orbits. The Great Bear constellation "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 release, however, doesn't mention the logo's striking resemblance to NASA's logo. Both share a blue globe with stars and round orbital designs, not to mention the one-letter difference between the acronyms.

A year ago, North Korea adopted a law on space development, which includes a stand against the weaponization of outer space. The program is in the fledgling stages, but at least it has a logo now, even if it appears to be heavily borrowed from another agency.

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