Thursday, April 12, 2012
Breaking: North Korea launches rocket- fails!
By NBC News and msnbc.com staff
PYONGYANG, North Korea -- North Korea launched a long-range rocket early Friday, U.S. officials confirmed.
The White House said it would issue a statement, NBC News reported.
The launch, which North Korea's neighbors and the West say is a disguised ballistic missile test, will take a three-stage rocket over a sea separating the Korean peninsula from China before releasing a weather satellite into orbit when the third stage fires over waters near the Philippines.
Regional powers also worry it could be the prelude to another nuclear test, a pattern the hermit state set in 2009.
The South Korean Defense Ministry announced that North Korea fired the long range rocket around Friday morning around 7:38 a.m. and the success of the launch was being tracked by the joint military of South Korea and United States.
UPDATE: BEIJING -- North Korea launched a three-stage rocket from a missile base near the west coast city of Sinuiju today, claiming that it was carrying a weather satellite of purely civilian use.
Its projected trajectory was almost due south on a course 150 miles east of Shanghai. The second stage of the rock was to splash down east of the Philippines, which prompted Manila to cancel northbound flights as a precaution.
Initial network news reports said the rocket failed during flight.
The rocket, named Unha-3 and emblazoned with a North Korean flag, was based on the same technology as the long-range Taepodong missile that the country is developing, which has triggered accusations that North Korea is actually conducting a weapons test.
Since 1998, Pyongyang has conducted three previous long-range launches but has not succeeded in sending a satellite into orbit, although it has claimed otherwise.
Today’s launch will be closely analyzed to determine how far North Korea has advanced its technological prowess.
"If they actually are successful, they can in theory deliver a weapon with a range sufficient to reach the United States," said Scott Snyder, an analyst from the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations.
The launch occurred despite warnings from the United States, as well as China and Russia.
“We don't really care about the opinions from the outside. This is critical in order to develop our national economy,” Paek Chang Ho, head of the satellite control center at the Korean Committee for Space Technology, had told reporters who were invited to North Korea for the occasion.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 4:24 PM