Entries in Rocket (9)


South Korea Launches Rocket Carrying Satellite into Orbit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- It looks like the third time's a charm for South Korea.  The country said on Wednesday that it successfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite into orbit after two previous failed attempts.

The 140-ton rocket named Naro blasted off from the Naro Space Center at around 4 p.m. local time.

While weather conditions had looked less than perfect on Wednesday, there has been considerable pressure on South Korea to carry out a launch due to recent threats from North Korea.

Wednesday's launch was also South Korea’s last chance with Russian backing.  Russia has said it would back a maximum of three attempts and after that, South Korea must find another partner.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Region on Edge as North Korea Plans Rocket Launch

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- The official North Korean state media carried a statement by the spokesman for the Korean Committee of Space Technology on Monday that confirmed that scientists and technicians have “found a technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module of the rocket carrying the satellite and decided to extend the satellite launch up to December 29th.”

The North Korean media had suggested on Sunday that a delay could be possible, although they hadn’t clarified why.

However, satellite images on Saturday have revealed that a new third-stage booster was delivered to the launch pad, and experts predict that the launch will probably take place after the booster has been installed.

North Korea has received international condemnation for their rocket launch, which many believe to be a cover for long-range missile technology.  The U.S. has mobilized warships in the Asia-Pacific region to monitor and possibly repudiate the launch, while South Korea has upped their defense level to “Watchcon 2,” which is issued when there is possibly a vital threat to the nation.  South Korea usually occupies a “Watchcon 3″ status due to their ongoing war with the North.

This planned rocket launch is also seen to be a possible political statement as it coincides closely with the South Korean presidential election, which will be held on Dec. 19.

For presidential candidate Park Geun-hye in particular, North Korea holds particular meaning due to her past.  Her father, Park Chung-hee, served as the South Korean president for 16 years, and was the target of many assassination attempts by the North.

Park was personally involved with North Korea and politics since she was 16, when a North Korean agent killed her mother in a botched assassination attempt against her father.  Park then took over her mother’s duties as first lady until her father was assassinated by the chief of security in 1979.

North Korea’s prospective rocket launch is the second one this year, following a failed attempt in April that crashed after just a few minutes in the air.  This launch is seen as more likely to succeed after North Korea allegedly turned to outside sources in foreign countries for their rocket technology.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Urges North Korea to Scrap Rocket Launch Plans

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- NATO is calling on North Korea to cancel plans for a second rocket launch before the year is out.

North Korea’s state run news agency announced plans to launch another space satellite on Saturday despite U.N. resolutions forbidding it.

North Korea invited the international press into the closed country last April to witness the first rocket launch under its new leader, Kim Jong Un.  However, that attempt failed.

Both China and Russia are urging North Korea not to take action that could destabilize the region.

The U.S. State Department has also said that a rocket launch "would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Korea Readying for Another Rocket Launch?

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images (file photo)(TOKYO) -- North Korea could be weeks away from its fifth satellite launch.  That's according to a new image captured by American satellite operator Digital Globe.

The photo at North Korea's missile launch site shows increased activity, including new tents, trucks and fuel oxidizer tanks.

Digital Globe says all the activity is similar to what they saw leading up to Pyongyang's failed launch in April of this year.

Analysts say North Korea could be ready to test yet another long-range missile within three weeks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Security Council Condemns North Korea Rocket Launch

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- North Korea's failed missile test has drawn new fire at the United Nations.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, speaking for the UN Security Council, said North Korea's rocket launch, though a failure, "caused grave security concerns."

“The Security Council demands that the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) not proceed with any further launches using ballistic missile technology,” Rice said.

With the support of China, the Security Council issued a statement that "strongly condemns" North Korea and warns of the possibility of new sanctions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Denies Role In North Korea’s Missile Failure

Dept of Defense(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon says the U.S. military played no role whatsoever in the failure of North Korea’s missile test Thursday.

“I can say categorically that the United States military did not play a role in the failure of this launch,” Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little said.

Asked by reporters if there may have been any U.S. activities beyond the military that might have brought down the missile, Little said, “I am unaware of any U.S. role whatsoever in bringing down the missile.”  He added, “to my knowledge this is a North Korean failed missile launch.”

According to Little, “initial indications are that it certainly failed in stage two.  We need to look over time, and experts are studying this right now, is precisely what happened along the trajectory.  I don’t have that full picture to provide at this stage. ”

In the wake of the failed launch, the U.S. has chosen to refer to the rocket the North Koreans labeled the Unha 3 as a TaePoDong 2.

Little confirmed that “it was the U.S. government’s collective judgment that we could designate this a TaePoDong  2 missile.”  Does that mean the U.S. believes the failed launch was a military launch?  Little said, “We are calling this a provocative act and the TaePoDong 2 missile is something the North Koreans have obviously tried to launch in the past.”

Does the succession of failed military launches imply that the U.S. should reassess the threat posed by North Korea’s missile technology?

Little said the U.S. treats North Korean missile launches “very seriously” but American concerns go beyond their missile capabilities.  He added that the missile launches did not paint a complete picture about the range of North Korean capabilities, “so we have to be vigilant here and not reach conclusions too soon about where they might be headed.”

The U.S. wasn’t discounting future North Korean missile advances despite failures that show they have a “ways to go with their capabilities,” he said.

Little said he could not confirm that North Korea is planning to conduct a nuclear test, but “we certainly hope they don’t under take any additional provocative acts.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Korea Acknowledges Rocket Launch Failure

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- North Korea state media has acknowledged that the long-range test rocket that the country launched in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and an agreement with the United States failed to enter orbit.

The 90-ton rocket launched at 6:39 p.m. EDT Thursday, but 81 seconds into the launch, the U.S. detected a substantially larger than expected flare and by 10 minutes after launch, the rocket was no longer on several radar screens, U.S. officials said.

The statement acknowledging the failure came Friday from North Korean state media after U.S. and South Korean officials reported the failure.

According to a statement from U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the missile was tracked on a southerly launch over the Yellow Sea.

"Initial indications are that the first stage of the missile fell into the sea 165 km west of Seoul, South Korea," the statement said.  "The remaining stages were assessed to have failed and no debris fell on land.  At no time were the missile or the resultant debris a threat."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement that despite the failed launch, "North Korea's provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments."

He added "any missile activity by North Korea is of concern to the international community.  The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security our allies in the region."

President Obama has been prepared to "engage constructively with North Korea," Carney said in the statement.  "However, he has also insisted that North Korea live up to its own commitments, adhere to its international obligations and deal peacefully with its neighbors."

Had the launch been successful, the rocket's third stage was expected to burn up in the atmosphere about 10 minutes after launch, with debris falling north of Australia.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Japan Facing Criticism over Response to North Korean Missile Launch

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- The Japanese government is facing heavy criticism over its slow response to the failed North Korean rocket launch.

While the country displayed a massive show of force in the lead-up to the planned launch, dispatching Pac-3 missile batteries and Aegis-equipped ships in Tokyo and Okinawa, it took nearly 40 minutes for leaders to officially confirm the launch on Friday, much longer than neighboring South Korea.  The J-alert emergency warning system, intended to inform the public minutes after liftoff, was never activated.

News of Pyongyang’s rocket was sent to local authorities over the Em-Net emergency information system, nearly an hour after it occurred.

At a press conference Friday, top spokesman Osamu Fujimura said the government verified the launch at 7:40 a.m., moments after the rocket took off, through the U.S. early warning satellite system.  But Japanese officials didn’t relay news to the public right away, because it wanted to “double check” with other sources.

A message sent out over the Em-Net system nearly 20 minutes later said the government had not confirmed the launch.

“We didn’t want to put out false information,” Fujimura told reporters.  “We were trying to confirm through other channels.”

While public acknowledgement of the launch was delayed, Fujimura said the Defense Ministry alerted Japanese self-defense forces.  The ballistic missile defense shields were readied but never activated.

Officials determined there would be “no impact to Japan” one minute after takeoff, Fujimura said.

Past embarrassment may have caused Japan to act more cautiously this time around.  In 2009, the government was forced to apologize after sounding two false alarms in the lead-up to another North Korean rocket launch.

Acting on a Pyongyang announcement that a rocket launch was “imminent,” officials prematurely sent out reports saying North Korea had fired the rocket.  The news was broadcast nationally on TV, while local officials activated their emergency responses.

Then Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada publicly apologized after retracting the announcements.

Fujimura said the government’s response, this time, generally went as planned.  But he acknowledged the need to review the information sent out over its emergency system.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Korean Rocket Launch Fails, US Officials Confirm

North Korean technicians check the Unha-3 rocket at Tangachai -ri space center on April 8, 2012. PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(SINGAPORE) -- North Korea's anticipated missile launch failed Thursday after it fired the long-range test rocket, defying U.N. Security Council resolutions and an agreement with the United States.

The 90-ton rocket launched and there was a larger than anticipated flare.

U.S. officials said that the missile is believed to have crashed into the sea.

It was launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the northern part of the country, near its border with China.

It was expected to travel south by southwest, passing by South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Splash down was expected to take place in the waters off the coast of Australia.

The Communist nation had announced a five-day window for launching the satellite, which began on Thursday.

The show of muscle put the region on edge, but Donald Gregg, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea from 1989-1993 and an ABC News consultant, said he believed it was new leader Kim Jong Un's way of asserting his power.

"The main audience for this missile is internal not external," Gregg said. "This is [Kim Jong Un's] way of demonstrating to the people of North Korea he is in charge and his country is capable of high tech things. It is a manifestation of his power."

North Korea claimed earlier that the planned rocket launch was just a satellite called Shining Star, which was being launched into orbit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the regime's founder, Kim Il Sung.

Experts did not doubt the possibility of a satellite being attached to the rocket, but felt the satellite was a cover to test a long-range missile.

The rocket launch defies two United Nations Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from testing ballistics missiles. It also breaks a promise North Korean leaders made to U.S. leaders in Beijing at the end of February.

The regime had promised to suspend nuclear missile tests, uranium enrichment and long-range missile launches in exchange for food aid from the United States.

On Tuesday, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said the launch of a rocket would hinder the promised aid.

The rocket launch is the first under Kim Jong Un. The regime's leader, who is believed to be 29 years old, assumed party leadership in January of this year, weeks after the death of his father.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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