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North Korea Shows Off Space Center and Launches Missile 294

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that nobody would describe North Korea's mission control as imposing. It is a small, unremarkable, two-story building, tiny compared to Nasa's Houston home in America or Russia's space command. But the North's secretive regime, now headed by the third of the Kim dynasty to rule here, Kim Jong-un, is opening up, for the first time in an attempt to allay fears it is about to test missile technology that could deliver a warhead as far as America. 'Sixteen technicians man the satellite command center. Dressed in white coats, like doctors, they sit behind computer screens,' writes Damian Grammaticas. 'On a big screen are live pictures from the launch pad, showing North Korea's rocket being fueled up. The satellite it will carry has already been loaded on board, we are told.' Pyongyang says the minibar refrigerator-sized satellite covered with solar panels and golden foil to protect its instruments will broadcast martial music praising North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung and is designed to monitor weather, natural disasters and agriculture patterns. As the five-day window for North Korea's rocket launch opens today, the United States has warned a launch would be a breach of UN Security Council resolutions that ban the North from testing missile technology. If North Korea goes ahead it could lead to UN sanctions, it has warned. 'That's why we have invited you, to clearly show that this is a satellite launch not a ballistic missile,' says Paek Chang-ho, head of the satellite control center. 'I hope you become supporters in showing the transparency of our satellite launch.'" After all that North Korea decided to launch a missile anyway. From the article: "The three-stage rocket, called the Unha-3, blasted off from the Soehae launch site near North Korea’s western corner with China, at about 7:39 a.m., the South Korea Defense Ministry said."
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North Korea Shows Off Space Center and Launches Missile

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  • Fail (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:18PM (#39667733) Journal

    Numerous news sites are reporting that the launch failed - it broke apart shortly after launch.

  • Kaputnik (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:22PM (#39667765)

    Yep, and the launch failed [go.com].

    Of course, even a failed launch is still valuable information for North Korea, as that is part of the whole point of such tests.

  • Re:Kaputnik (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:48PM (#39667993)

    Already known, even to amateurs [wired.com].

    And the White House has been warning the media about this [politico.com].

  • by CaptainLard ( 1902452 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:00PM (#39668071)

    Now any other country doing this would not have any issues.

    I'm not going to argue that the US isn't grossly hypocritical but you can't call North Korea just another country. Not 2 years ago they torpedoed and sank a south korean navy ship! 2/5 of their population is currently in the military and up to 400k of the rest are in prisions/camps with a 40% mortality rate. The reason the population isn't in constant famine is because of food aid provided by countries such as the US under conditions that they not develop ICBMs! Their grand leader for eternity died decades ago. IMO, north korea filing a flight plan for a rocket launch is about the same as someone guilty of a knife attack applying for a gun. As for Iran, the US should get the hell out of the middle east but a regime who's goal is to destroy a nearby country (Israel) shouldn't get a free pass.

  • Re:Fail (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:19PM (#39668247)

    That is impossible. First, the North Korean rockets are infallible, second, the satellite that carries the voices of Dear Leader, his son and his grandson has negative gravity and third, I can already hear the patriotic songs from the satellite on my radio.

    You and all other liars on StateDep pay will NOT ruin this great day for the Juhche Democracy.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:20PM (#39668259)

    - They applied to the international regulatory authorities for space launch approval and orbital slot
    - They posted air and maritime notices
    - They had the international press to tour the launch site

    You forgot a few:

    - They promised to suspend weapons testing, including missile launches, in exchange for food aid.
    - They maintain one of the largest armies on the planet.
    - They launched an unprovoked artillery attack on an American ally just last year, killing mostly civilians.
    - They have never signed a peace treaty ending the Korea War. There is only a cease-fire. Technically we are still at war with them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:26PM (#39668309)
    Funny you mention that: for the last sixty-seven years, it has been the North Korean government that is doing the raping [wikipedia.org], murdering [wikipedia.org] and plundering [csmonitor.com]. But enough with the facts. Carry on, comrade.
  • Re:Missle? (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:39PM (#39668845)

    They don't have much experience with Missile launches either.
    It appears the launch failed, the second and third stage as well as the payload fell into the sea. [google.com].

  • Re:NK discovers life (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:24PM (#39669189)

    You must be american. Geography is not one of your strengths.

  • Re:Missle? (Score:5, Informative)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:38PM (#39669265)
    The end result is the same, we generally reserve the word "Rocket" for the ones without guidance systems, as such the context is correct when you refer to RPG as Rocket Propelled Grenade, and the kinds used in fireworks.

    In the fighter jet world, it is generally broken down thusly:

    Missile - Powered, guided (AIM-9/AIM-120/ALCM)
    Rocket - Powered, unguided (2.75" FFAR)
    Smart bomb - Guided, unpowered (JDAM)
    Bomb - unpowered, unguided (regular MK-82 dumb bomb)

    For large thingies:
    Missile - Goes up, parts come down, guided, hopefully on target (ICBM)
    Rocket - Goes up, parts stay in orbit or semi-orbit (first stages of an orbital vehicle/payload)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:45AM (#39669961)

    How many countries has NK invaded in the last 100 years?

    One (South Korea). There was this minor scuffle called the Korean War [wikipedia.org] back in the fifties. Perhaps you might have heard of it.

    How many people have they killed?

    Lots [wikipedia.org].

    If anything, they are much more peaceful

    You tell that to the people who were kidnapped from Japan to train North Korean spies [wikipedia.org].

    It's a small, poor country, they are not a real threat.

    A small, poor country with nuclear weapons [wikipedia.org], spends over 30% of its GDP on the military [brainz.org], has a history of threats to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire," [cbsnews.com], not to mention torpedoing South Korean ships [bbc.co.uk] and shelling South Korea [reuters.com] (only a few miles from Incheon International Airport, mind you) Just the kind of small, poor, safe neighbor you want to have in your backyard.

    If need be NK could be crushed in a few days.

    If it were that easy, it'd have been done already. Even if all of their missiles fail (leaving them unable to attack Japan), they can still easily decimate Seoul, as it's within artillery range of the North Korean border. NK also happens to have an unholy relationship to China, which is fed up with NK's antics, but is still geopolitically wedded to that nation. China will most likely be forced to intervene against any Western efforts to dislodge the Dear Leader.

    Last time I checked launching satellites doesn't goes against any treaty signed by NK

    They broke their agreement over nuclear development [armscontrol.org]. That's why no one trusts them.

    no nation has the right to tell another sovereign nation it can't research rocketry or launch rockets into the ground.

    When that same nation comes begging for food which it can't buy because it spent all of its lunch money on rockets [fas.org], we sure as hell do have the right to tell them how not to spend their money! And that is true even if the same nation doesn't keep threatening to take military action against the very same people offering aid.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak