Saturday, April 4, 2009

North Korean missile launch

Reports from multiple sources are now confirming, at 1130 hrs Sunday local time (Japan), that the North Koreans successfully launched their so-called-satellite, but no confirmation as to anything reaching orbit has come in.

Yomiuri newspaper has the most details so far (source in Japanese) Their report has it that after a missile flight time of 43 minutes, something (probably the second stage) fell into the Pacific Ocean 1270 km to the east of Japan.

Reuters has the story as both the Japanese and American governments are confirming the launch, and that "the projectile has passed over Japan". The story gives no citation of any apparently success at orbiting a satellite, but it is really too early to know about that yet.

Key Points:

It seems the missile functioned mostly correctly, with both 1st and 2nd stage separations successful.

Nothing fell on Japan.

No one attempted to intercept any part of the missile.

Expect a letter from the international community 'saying how angry we are'.

Anyone else hearing the words "...step a little to the left, Hans" about now?

Update: 22 minutes after the hour

Stage 1 of the booster is confirmed to have gone into the Sea of Japan 280 km west of Akita Prefecture (source in Japanese), safely away from Japanese territory.

And right on schedule, here come those letters...

Japan protests "Regrettable" launch

South Korea calls launch "Reckless"

U.S. State Department says "(America) will take appropriate steps
"The launch by the North Koreans is seen as a provocative act and will prompt the United States to take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it cannot threaten the safety and security of (other) countries with impunity," State Department spokesman Fred Lash told reporters in a conference call.
Hm. Seems a bit too late for that, Mr. Lash... threatening other countries with impunity is just what North Korea has done.

Update: 55 minutes after the hour

Yonhap news of South Korea has more about the launch. Specifically, that the flight-path was suitable for a satellite launch, but...
"A senior South Korean foreign ministry official identified the North's rocket as a "space vehicle" carrying a satellite.

"We believe North Korea fired a rocket carrying a satellite," the official said. However, it does not necessarily mean that the launch was a success."
Still waiting for a U.S. DoD or Japan Boueishou (Defense Ministry) statement on the final stage.

Update: 5 hours 30 minutes after the time of the post

No official statement from the Defense departments yet as to whether the "satellite" made it to orbit intact.

Here is the FOXNews summary of the events of the day and the various protests and claims being made. Invariably, the call for a U.N. Security Council meeting on Sunday will result in nothing of substance as the P.R.Chinese (and less strongly, the Russians) have made it clear that they will not support any expansion of the sanctions regime.

So, for those of you needing a bit of comic relief after all this, let's wrap this up for today with the English-language version of North Korea's official statement on their success, which includes the opportunity for those of you with the correct radio receiver to tune in on 470 MHz to listen to the satellite broadcasting "...the melodies of the immortal revolutionary paeans 'Song of General Kim Il-sung' and 'Song of General Kim Jong-il'..."


I was hoping that at least their taste in music had improved. No dice on that.

No comments: