The event was scheduled between April 12-16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung, the communist state\'s official news agency said on Friday.
A Unha-3 rocket would launch a home-built polar-orbiting earth observation satellite known as Kwangmyongsong-3, it quoted a spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology as saying.
The North said such satellites are indispensable for economic development and in line with its policy of the peaceful use of space.
The launch "will greatly encourage the army and people... in the building of a thriving nation", it added.
"A safe flight orbit has been chosen so that carrier rocket debris to be generated during the flight would not have any impact on neighbouring countries," it said, promising to abide by international regulations.
The North used similar arguments to justify its long-range rocket launch on April 5, 2009, saying it put a satellite into space. The launch brought UN Security Council condemnation and a tightening of sanctions.
Last month Pyongyang agreed to suspend long-range missile tests as part of a deal under which Washington would supply 240,000 tonnes of food aid.
The North said the rocket would be launched southward from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province on its west coast.
It has been developing a new missile launch site at Tongchang-ri in the county.
"Following the alleged satellite launch attempt in 2009, this is another ploy to heap pressure on the United States by conducting a test-launch of a rocket which can easily be converted to weapons use," said Yang Moo-Jin of Seoul\'s University of North Korean Studies.
"It also wants to show off to the world it has become a strong state with technological and military prowess as it enters a new era under Jong-Un and marks the 100th anniversary of Kim Il-Sung," Yang told AFP.