North Korea Rocket Launch “Partial Success”

[/caption]On Sunday, North Korea carried out its promise of launching a rocket carrying a satellite, as part of their peaceful space program. Naturally, this move has drawn massive international condemnation, prompting US President Barack Obama make a statement in Prague during his European tour. Japan has also reacted angrily, tightening sanctions against the state.

Although a rocket was launched, it was far from being a success, but it wasn’t a failure either. If the world were to listen to the official line coming out of Pyongyang, one would think Kim Jong-il has his first communications satellite in orbit, but the reality is a little more pedestrian. The Taepoding-2 rocket didn’t make it into space at all, and rather than orbiting the Earth, the communications satellite now rests at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. However, this is a worrying development, the missile had a successful first-staging, propelling the rocket over Japanese airspace, a technical success in itself…

North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles,” President Obama said in Prague. “It creates instability in their region, around the world. This provocation underscores the need for action, not just this afternoon in the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.”

The North Korean rocket launch may not have successfully put a satellite into orbit, but Pyongyang’s actions have certainly sent international politics into a spin. North Korea isn’t known for its subtlety when it comes to international relations, and when you have a state that is so secretive about its nuclear ambitions (we know they have the beginnings of a nuclear weapons program after the 2006 underground nuclear bomb test), it is little wonder surrounding nations will be getting tense. In this case, Japan bore the brunt of Pyongyang’s sabre rattling, saying that if Japanese forces intercepted the rocket, the North Korea army would strike “major targets” in the country.

Ahead of Sunday’s launch, the US and allies neighbouring North Korea warned that should the launch go ahead, there would be serious political and economic consequences. Unfortunately, Jong-il’s government didn’t budge and launched anyway. Apart from causing world-wide condemnation, did the rocket actually succeed? According to one expert, the Taepoding-2 rocket launch was a “partial success.”

It says, first of all, they had successful first staging and (were) able to control the rocket through staging,” said retired General Henry Obering, former director of the US missile defense agency. “That is a significant step forward for any missile program because often times the missiles become unstable as they go through the staging events.”

Although the first stage of the rocket launch was a success, showing that North Korea is slowly improving their long-range missile capabilities, the rest of the stages failed, causing pieces of the rocket to fall into the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.

In a post-launch statement however, the Korea Central News Agency quoted Kim Jong-il as saying “It is a striking demonstration of the might of our juche-oriented science and technology that our scientists and technicians developed both the multistage carrier rocket and the satellite with their own wisdom and technology . . . 100% and accurately put the satellite into orbit at one go.” Whether the statement actually came from Jong-il is open to debate, but the report is woefully wrong, the satellite didn’t come close to orbit.

Apart from the obvious propaganda, the launch will cause concern. The missile system is known to have an optimum range of 4200 miles, possibly with the ability to reach Hawaii and Alaska. Although the rocket failed and dropped into the Pacific, this episode clearly demonstrates the direction of North Korea’s technological advancements.

Source: Physorg, LA Times

36 Replies to “North Korea Rocket Launch “Partial Success””

  1. Anyone going to go fish out that rocket and satellite?

    The West better get it before some desperate Third World power does.

  2. Why wouldn’t N-korea be in its right to have its own space program?

    And since other countries have had nuclear programs, who is to judge N-korea is not allowed to have a nuclear program?

    Just because other countries don’t trust N-korea with this kind of power….? I would think N-korea doesn’t trust other countries either, with their nuclear power.

    As long as N-korea doesn’t attack other countries, I think they’re in their right.

  3. Although it’s not in the news much, N Korea attacks S Korea on a regular basis. They are one of the most hostile nations on the planet.

    If they get nuclear weapons they WILL use them, possibly to just show off their might.

    They have no good reason to testing nuclear weapons, and have shown no peaceful reasons for a space program, other than blatant propaganda.

  4. For me the saddest thing is the NK focus on technology while there population suffers terribly in wanton neglect and poverty.
    I am highly critical of the U.S. on occasions, but to see such cruelty to populations like NK irresponsible and dreadful. In this instance, I equally stand with the US and the international community on its stance. The time of selfish aims of domination by rouge states over. the general consensus of peace and co-operation must end.
    Our stressed world cannot live or survive on the paths we have set for ourselves in the past. Our future is becoming all or nothing – the latter being an unacceptable option!

  5. It doesn’t matter if it “communication satellite” didn’t make it into orbit, what matters is that they sent it up. This is getting ridiculous. North Korea obviously can not be trusted with nuclear technology. They claim what they sent up with merely a satellite, but there are other countries that claim it was a ballistic missile. Luckily it didn’t make it in to orbit, but at the same time, why didn’t anyone shoot it down? This video has many people the same thing.’s-missile/ The United States should refrain the running to the UN and just tell NK what is the deal.

  6. *sniff sniff*

    I smell another ridiculous war. Let’s hope not. But if it does, it’s going to make Iraq look like childs birthday party.

  7. All of these dictatorships need to have their nuclear aspirations nipped in the bud, before they destablisize their respective regions.

    What I find frightening are some of the countries who already possess missiles/nukes, e.g. Pakistan, India and Israel.

  8. “Luckily it didn’t make it in to orbit, but at the same time, why didn’t anyone shoot it down?”

    Anti-ballistic missles, used for shooting down ICBMs and/or orbital vehicles, are extremely ineffective – working maybe 10% of the time. That’s why Bush Sr. wanted to create his Star Wars program with (completely hypothetical, exceptionally impractical) lasers to shoot down ICBMS.

    Really the only way you’re going to knock a rocket out of the air is if you know its exact trajectory before it’s even launched. And I doubt North Korea shared that information.

  9. “Anyone going to go fish out that rocket and satellite?

    The West better get it before some desperate Third World power does.”

    Why would anyone want a slagged satellite and the empty boosters from a failed rocket? It’s not like you could actually * do * anything with them.

  10. personality cults like north korea(and yes thats what north korea is now)should never been allowed to get this technology in the 1st place,and everyone knows it’s just a cover for wanting to blow up south korea and to help iran blow up isaerl too.would you have lett hitler, stalin,and castro have a long range nuke-i don’t think so.

  11. Two reasons, Tyler:

    To get a better look at what they did, especially to learn if they did have a satellite atop their rocket.

    And to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. It may not be a very sophisticated machine, but a crude bomb or biological weapon placed atop a primitive rocket that can reach its target and explode is still a danger.

  12. Dark Gnat says:

    “If they get nuclear weapons they WILL use them, possibly to just show off their might.

    I disagree – they will use it to gain concessions so that they can continue to live in isolation from the rest of the world, or be paid to dismantle it. Either way Kim Jong Ill wins (in their eyes at least).

    North Korea using Nuclear weapons as a first strike against its neighbours would be suicide. These people are facists, not fundimentalist suicide bombers.

    But If they are attacked, facing certain defeat – they may choose to go down in a blaze of glory and launch a nuclear attack against Japan. And its this threat that forces the rest of the world to back off and leave them to their own devices.

    The bottom line is this – unless you can remove their nuclear capacity beforehand, any attack on NK may well provoke an attack against Japan. They are therefore immune from attack. This is what Pyongyang wants.

  13. …Yeah all good and well… what of the outrage against the NK population, eh?
    it is supposed to be about people not people second to technology!

    This is where the problem lies, floks1

  14. Correction. The last line should read;
    “This is where the problem lies, folks!”

  15. “Luckily it didn’t make it in to orbit, but at the same time, why didn’t anyone shoot it down?”

    No legal basis to do that.

    But you can bet that the thing was being tracked by every available means to know just how it performs and what its radar, infrared and other signatures are…so that we’ll know just what to expect if it should come to that in the future.

  16. Japan is capable of producing a nuclear weapon in 30 days-if Japan feels theatened by N.K., who will complain if Japan wants to develop short range missles armed with nukes to defend themselves against N.K. ???!!!! I certainly will not!!

  17. @Dave: I have read 1984 🙂

    I’m not saying I like N-korea, and how they treat their people.

    But you’re not saying the international government really cares do you? Why then, they do so little about the poverty and corruption in many african countries?

    I can understand one would be afraid of N-korea. But there are other western countries that have shown to be threatening to other countries. No wonder one country would like to defend itself.

    Western countries have possession of nuclear weapons, and advanced war technology, and are still developing it. They even used it in other countries. In the basis, where do we think to have right to force other countries to not develop this?

    I can understand the problem we have with N-korea developing this. But we had the same problem with Iran.. And just because we don’t like their politics or religion, we think we have some right to rule them out of developing and possessing the same weapons we have.

  18. If North Korea were to use a Nuke on anyone, it would indeed be suicide for their country. One the other hand, if I was in charge of North Korea I would want lots of nukes because the entire world is against me. Who knows why, we are a nice peaceful nation-Yeah Right!
    If they decide to nuke someone I doubt that we can stop them and this goes for Iran just as soon as NK sells them a bomb. One of these days one of the small nations will use a bomb- and millions will die. NK is working on these long range missiles so that they can hit the US or Russia or China or whoever it is that they feel like they are being bullied by- Then, in their minds, they will have the respect that they deserve. Of course if they use one- there will be a big hole on the map where the NK once was-!

  19. @robklg:
    Its simple, the strongest is always right.
    Look at Iraq, Saddam made the us politicians look like idiots. They went and destroyed and beat up on a dead camel on basis that Saddam had WMD.
    Where was the UN in all this?
    Rule of the jungle.


  20. robklg- The UN really does care about the poverty and corruption in many African countries, but the UN forces are time and time again chased away and fear going into some of these countries because many individuals in the UN forces disappears or are cruelly tortured publicly for ‘interfering ‘ with internal affairs. It will take a long time for many of these unstable African countries to stabilize themselves in their own ways. NK is a basket case with their leaders. NK soldiers are very loyal because they and their families are the only ones living half-way decently, for the rest, they will sacifice themselves for the ’cause’ because they have no other choice !! A nation and a culture that figures it has nothing to lose is a very dangerous adversary for anyone else!!!!!!

  21. I saw the interview with retired General Henry Obering on CNN and recall his remark that we now have had a good look at the Taepodong-2 missile and that analysis was important in understanding certain aspects of the vehicle itself. I’m sure many US covert intelligence programs obtained useful data concerning the engineering & performance of the NK rocket. Also amusing is NKs new definition of orbit: Any body that reaches an altitude of 60 miles and maintains that for 1/20 the circumference of the Earth. That sounds more like a trajectory.

  22. I do wonder, while North Korea is bad to it’s people, should not be putting resources into this, should be putting resources into feeding it’s people and so forth. I do kind of wonder what all the fuss is about scare mongering we’re told about them.

    Who has North Korea invaded in the last 50 years? Who have they are attacked? It’s talk that they’re a big threat, but to who and how and why?

    Best i’ve ever found is, they have told technology to people. Well the US is the largest arms dealer in the world, who sells weapons to people who do much worse things than have been done by those small few north korea has.

    I am still yet to hear a clear argument against them, usually it’s just they are led by a mad man, yet everything i’ve ever read, has pointed to him not being the sort of mad that he’d just nuke a city in japan for the sake of it and then laugh as his country was then destroyed.

    I see more these military things as just paranoia and wanting to be left alone by the international community.

  23. Grinspoon- The leaders of NK is very patient, something western nations are not good at.
    They will do what they will do when and where they feel like it. NK leaders will be correct that the western nations will forget about them and will have in-fighting among themselves about NK. NK will do some occasional boosting about themselves, then western nations will complain, then forget again. It is unfortunate the non-military related citizens are going to die from hunger and suffer, but as long as the leaders and the military and family are fed well, they will do what they will do whenever they feel like it.
    I am glad I am not a citizen of that country.

  24. Did the guy that poured the gunpowder and lit the fuse make it back behind the tree?

  25. North Korea isn’t just sitting in the corner, saying “leave me alone.”

    Far from it.

    There’s a reason the US has had so many troops protecting SK for so long.

  26. Dark Gnat Says
    40,000 US troop will merely be a ‘speed bump’ should NK forces invades from UNDERGROUND in SK then after the military logistics is disrupted and communcations destroyed, NK will be do a frontal assault-I hope the SK has the will to fight and last until they can get help from the world community on what will be an invasion the likes of which has never been staged before, from UNDERGROUND at thousands of pre-planned exit points from NK forces under SK land. The number of troops under the DMZ and under SK is probably a few hundred thousands-satillite intelligence is lacking as NK does their ‘manuvers’ underground in large caverns and bunkers dugged out over the last few decades and continues to moves 1km south every 5years. No top NK military leaders truly knows the locations or layout of these underground bunkers, caverns in the event of any NK solder defecting to the south.
    Each underground ‘cell’ of which there is hundreds, perhaps thousands, have been rehearsing for years how to rapidly punch out the exits with equipment in place, and each cell is not dependent on other cells in case these cells are destroyed from above. NK has studied for years the cave systems of Iwo Jima, sewers of Stalingrad and other cave systems from past wars that gave the invaders a bad time and NK has improved and rehearsted for years when and where they will break out. Remember, NK is very patient.

  27. Neil said;
    “The payload would have made it into orbit if the hamster didnt fall off the wheel”

    He He Good one. Made me smile! 🙂

  28. So long as the world relies on the United Nations to be its police force, no dictatorship is ever going to take international threats seriously.

    Endless meetings and strongly-worded letters, that’s about all the UN is good for.

    North Korea will not go quietly. Expect megadeaths of its citizens and the nations nearest to it. Unless we get a real police action on them now.

    Lose a few lives to save a lot of lives.

  29. The whole purpose of this, along with the 2006 atom bomb text (dud?), is to make the world pay attention. Nations do these things to announce to the world, “We are a nuclear ballistic missile power, pay attention to us!’ As quirky the N. Korean government is I don’t think they are going to strart lobbing nukes.

    So it boils down to a diplomatic issue, where we and the rest of the world will have to throw then a few bones to get some compliance on their behalf. A soft landing with the N Korean issue is long overdue. I am not sure how to get that, but condemnations in of themselves will accomplish little.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  30. As crazy as Kim Jong-il and his thugs are, and the way he treats his people-besides doing some sword rattling and a bunch of whisky talk, there’s really nothing legal anyone can do about NK. NK may have a great army of ‘mole man’ and such a threat is real, but to go after him now will have NK crying like a baby to the UN that they were ‘picked on’ for being a psysco and a paranoid. It is unfortunate we must wait until NK strikes the first blow and unfortunately, many will be killed from what may probably be one of the most un-orthodox invasion in history.!!! For the world community to take back SK from the ‘mole man’ army and NK conventional forces, the cost in time and human lifes will be very high!!!!

  31. Why doesn’t NK have the right to pursue rocket technology and nuclear weapons?

    …it is against the current armistice agreement, and a UN Resolution.

    Personally, I say we get rid of both, and bolster SK full of arms, and assist them in building a larger navy. Might just make Kim fall over from a heart attack.

    Since Kim doesn’t treat his people very well, and most would defect to SK given the chance. I don’t see more than 15-20% of the RNK Army having the heart or will to fight for Kim.

  32. Mr.Obvious Says
    I wish I could share you optomist view about only 15-20% of NK army having heart, however, that country has been completely isolated for decades, and the population is completely brainwashed. Because the soldiers and their families are the only ones besides Kim Jong-il and his goons to be eating well, the soldiers are very loyal and unfortunately has a great heart to fight and do their missions-for an individual soldier to not follow orders is to have the soldiers’ family staving to death and their names publicly published so their neighbors can give cat-calls, calling son a coward etc
    SK has been given a great supply of advanced US military weapons for self-protection over the years. SK must show the willingness and heart to defend their country but, the method of NK invasion will again be so un-orthodox, this may indeed rattle SK military forces into chaos!. I’m with you, I would like to have the US and other nations go into NK, but, again, we can’t do so just because the leadership is boostful, ,physcopathic and a paranoid
    The military of NK is not Iraq of 1990, the people of NK has been isolated totally since the armistice of the Korean War 1953, Armistice!! Yes, there was NO peace threaty!!
    NK is still at war!!!! Again, I will have to state,
    NK will do what it will do when and where- NK is very, very patient.!!!!!

  33. Why not leave them alone? Let them do whatever they want and cut off all relationship with them (including aid), let their “juche” philosphy feed their hungry then.

    If they want to develope nukes instead of food fine, but when they start attacking blow them up.

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