The satellite that North Korea launched early Wednesday appears to be tumbling out of control, according to unnamed U.S. officials.

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The satellite that North Korea launched early Wednesday appears to be tumbling out of control, according to unnamed U.S. officials.

The Defense Department does have the capability to detect a tumbling satellite, especially if its solar panels are visible, though I must emphasize that the information here is so vague it hardly means anything. Regardless, the real issue here is not that North Korea put a working satellite into orbit, but that it now has the rocket capability to put anything into orbit. For us this is not a good thing: A rogue nation that is trying to build nuclear weapons that is also officially still at war with our ally South Korea now has this capability.



  • J FIncannon

    There are three objects in orbit: the satellite, a rocket body and debris. Any idea what the debris is? The fairing?

  • Craig Beasley

    I agree with the seriousness of the situation, and would also add that a similar cavalier attitude has accompanied similar events:

    December 1941: The Japanese are nearsighted and their aircraft are junk.
    Sputnik 1957: It’s just one rocket, and just a beeping little ball, anyway.

    We are being fed the tumbling story in the same way, and we risk being blindsided again.

  • No. But this is interesting information. Is the rocket body an upper stage?

  • J FIncannon

    All I know is that it is a rocket body. Upper stage is a good assumption.

  • A recent news story notes that the N. Korea launch violates UN sanctions. The UN is formulating an ‘appropriate’ response. Maybe they’ll write a really strongly worded letter.

  • Pzatchok

    I am more concerned that NK has not worked with any of the other space capable nations during this launch.

    They could have at least openly told everyone about the launch and picked a low orbit out of the way of other satellites. Just in case something like this happened.

    Its inevitable that any organized group of people with the funding will find a way into orbit. It can not be stopped. But at least traffic and safety regulations can be set up and followed.

    The fact that they are this irresponsible with their first payload sort of points to just how irresponsible they will be with their actual working payloads. Lets hope this one was not a nuclear payload set to go off on re-entry.
    How can we expect them to be any safer or better in the coming years?

    Being a nuclear power also tends to mean you have to be a little extra cautious with them. You can’t just toss them into the air and hope they will hit their target. First off that makes for a really bad weapon and inefficient/inaccurate weapons are no real threat to your enemy.

    They need to step up their game and start looking a bit more professional before I would be concerned about them being a threat to my country.

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