A Huge Embarassment for North Korea

The North Korean attempt to launch their satellite named “Kwangmyongsong-3” aboard their three stage rocket “Unha-3” has ended in failure just prior to, or during the separation of the first and seconds stage.

The timeline for the flight follows:

  • 22:38:55 UTC on 12 April 2012: the rocket lifted off
  • 22:39:49: Sejong the Great has detected the rocket on its radar
  • 22:41:10: The radar blip splits into two (A and B); presumably an explosion happened.
  • Altitude: 70.5 km, Speed: Mach 5.6
  • 22:42:55: the rocket passes over the South Korean island of Baengnyeong. Altitude: 151.4 km, Speed: Mach 4.4
  • 22:47:42: Object A broke up into pieces and disappeared from the radar
  • 22:48:02: Object B broke up into 3 pieces at an altitude of 11 km and at mach 1.7. The nominal splashdown point is 190-200 km west of Kunsan.
  • Source

Speculation is they will attempt to set off nuclear explosion to salve the public relations wounds, but experts suspect they no longer have enough plutonium for that to happen.

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