[FPSPACE] More on NK launch failure

Peter Pesavento pjp961 at svol.net
Thu Apr 12 21:21:17 EDT 2012


I have a question-are the lives of the rocket engineers who were involved in
the construction and preparations for launching-are they in jeopardy? The NK
nation has lost face with this third failure-and after all the hoopla, and
even the unprecedented western press invitation/exposure. Recall that when
the finance minister allowed the North Korean monetary unit to "float," that
it crashed.  People really suffered subsequently.  The finance minister was
executed, if I recall correctly.


 


Associated Press via Huffington Post


 


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/12/north-korea-rocket-2012-l_n_1422319
.html


 


 


North Korea Rocket 2012: Launch Reported By South Korea 


By JEAN H. LEE 04/12/12 08:55 PM ET

 

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea's foreign minister says a North Korean
long-range rocket launch has been confirmed a "failure."

Kim Sung-hwan provided no further details about what he said was the North's
failure to launch a rocket the West has condemned as a cover for a missile
test.

He told reporters Friday in a nationally televised address that Seoul is
"strongly condemning North Korea's new leadership" for ignoring
international warnings to cancel the launch.

South Korean and U.S. officials earlier said North Korea fired a long-range
rocket. That was in defiance of international warnings against moving
forward with a launch widely seen as a provocation.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information.
AP's earlier story is below.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea fired a long-range rocket early
Friday, South Korean and U.S. officials said, defying international warnings
against moving forward with a launch widely seen as a provocation.

Space officials had announced they would launch a satellite this week as
part of celebrations honoring North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, and liftoff
took place at 7:39 a.m. from the west coast launch pad in the hamlet of
Tongchang-ri, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said, citing
South Korean and U.S. intelligence.

However, the launch appeared to have failed, with the rocket splintering
into pieces moments after takeoff, South Korea's Defense Ministry said in
Seoul.

"We suspect the North Korean missile has fallen as it divided into pieces
minutes after liftoff," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told
reporters.

In Washington, a U.S. official also said the launch appeared to have failed.
The official offered no further details and would not discuss the source of
the information.

Tokyo, which was prepared to shoot down any rocket flying over its
territory, also confirmed a launch from North Korea.

"We have confirmed that a certain flying object has been launched and fell
after flying for just over a minute," Japan's Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka
said. He said there was no impact on Japanese territory.

"For all their advanced technology, these rockets are fairly fragile
things," said Brian Weeden, a technical adviser at Secure World Foundation
who is a former Air Force officer at the U.S. Space Command. "You're looking
at a metal cylinder that has fairly thin walls that contains a lot of high
pressure liquid."

In Pyongyang, there was no word about a launch, and at the time, state
television was broadcasting video of popular folk tunes. North Korean
officials said they would make an announcement about the launch "soon."

North Korea had earlier announced it would send a three-stage rocket mounted
with a satellite as part of celebrations honoring late President Kim Il
Sung, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated Sunday.

A failure would be a huge blow to a nation that has staked its pride on a
satellite launch seen as a show of strength amid persistent economic
hardship as North Korea's young new leader, Kim Jong Un, solidifies power
following the death of his father, longtime leader Kim Jong Il, four months
ago.

North Korean space officials said the Unha-3 rocket is meant to send a
satellite into orbit to study crops and weather patterns - its third bid to
launch a satellite since 1998. Officials took foreign journalists to the
west coast site to see the rocket and the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite Sunday
in a bid to show its transparency amid accusations of defiance.

The United States, Britain, Japan and others have called such a launch a
violation of U.N. resolutions prohibiting North Korea from nuclear and
ballistic missile activity.

Experts say the Unha-3 carrier is the same type of rocket that would be used
to launch a long-range missile aimed at the U.S. and other targets. North
Korea has tested two atomic devices but is not believed to have mastered the
technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking for the Group of
Eight nations after their foreign ministers met in Washington, said Thursday
that all the members of the bloc agreed to be prepared to take further
action against North Korea in the Security Council if the launch went ahead.

"Pyongyang has a clear choice: It can pursue peace and reap the benefits of
closer ties with the international community, including the United States;
or it can continue to face pressure and isolation," Clinton said.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was convening an emergency security
meeting, officials said.

According to projections, the first stage of the rocket was to fall into the
ocean off the western coast of South Korea, while a second stage would fall
into waters off the eastern coast of the Philippine island of Luzon.

Weeden said the launch appeared to be a failure of both space and missile
objectives.

"The earlier it breaks up, the less data you've collected, so the less
useful that test is likely to be," he said. "It's very likely that the U.S.
and its allies probably gathered more information about this test than the
North Koreans have."

He said U.S. and other nations had been poised to keep close watch on the
launch to gather intelligence about the state of North Korea's rocket
program.

___

Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Foster Klug in Seoul and Mari
Yamaguchi and Malcolm Foster in Tokyo contributed to this report.

 

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