NoKo 'Glorious' rocket launch a glorious failure
How anti-climactic can you get? North Korea's plan to launch and ICBM with a "weather satellite" aboard ratcheted up tensions in the Far East over the last few days - especially in Japan and South Korea.
The launch was supposed to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the birth of the founding maniac of North Korea, Kim Il Sung. It was also, some analysts say, designed to boost the fortunes of current maniac leader and grandson of the founder, Kim Jong-Un.
But North Korean rockets have a bad habit of not performing as advertised. And this one was no different.
North Korea launched a multistage rocket Friday morning, again defying countries that want it to stop pursuing advanced weapons, but it blew up less than two minutes into flight and parts crashed in the Yellow Sea off South Korea.
Despite the failure, the U.S. and its allies quickly condemned the launch, with the White House saying that a food agreement it had reached with Pyongyang in February was dead. But the launch also denied North Korea a key propaganda victory and raised questions about the state of its ballistic missile technology.
The rocket took off at 7:39 a.m. local time from a new launch facility in the country's northwest corner and flew south toward Japan's Ryukyu Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.
It apparently exploded about 80 seconds into flight, roughly the time its first stage should have burned out and second stage kicked in, U.S. and South Korean defense officials said.
Pyongyang issued a brief statement saying, "The earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit," and added that its scientists were "looking into the cause of the failure."
The admission of failure, which came more than four hours after the launch, is a sign that North Korea's government recognizes that its ability to control information has weakened. It contrasts with its past launch attempts, which it declared to be successful despite clear evidence of failure.
The North American Aerospace Command, which tracked the rocket's flight, said debris began falling into the Yellow Sea about 100 miles west of Seoul.
Even before the rocket blew up, speculation was rampant that the North Koreans were preparing another test of their nuclear bomb. The last two have been somewhat of a fizzle, generating only about half the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb. But that's still a powerful punch.
With the missile mishap, don't be surprised if the North follows up with a nuke test just to regain a little face.