North Korea's Second Attempt at Launching Military Satellite Proves Unsuccessful
© Korean Central News AgencyNorth Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration conducts a "final-stage test" for development of a reconnaissance satellite at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on December 18, 2022
© Korean Central News Agency
The launch comes amid increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula, with the US and South Korea running joint military drills in the area and North Korea increasing its missile tests.
North Korea’s second attempt to launch a military satellite failed after an issue occurred during the rocket’s third phase, state media revealed.
The failed launch, which was also confirmed by the South Korean military, took off from the North Phyongan Province around dawn on Thursday local time. The launch of the Malligyong-1 satellite was carried on a new type of carrier rocket, the Chollima-1.
“The flights of the first and second stages of the rocket were normal, but the launch failed due to an error in the emergency blasting system during the third-stage flight,” North Korean state media reported, adding that the North’s National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) would investigate, something the agency said would not be “a big problem.”
This was the second attempt by the North to launch a military reconnaissance satellite, often referred to as a spy satellite, in recent months. In May, an attempt failed after what NADA described as an “abnormal starting” of the second-stage engine.
South Korea has managed to salvage parts of that rocket but said it had no military value.
Vowing to continue launch efforts, North Korea's aerospace agency underscored it will try again in October.
Earlier reports released by both Japanese and South Korean authorities indicated the launch triggered momentary evacuation orders in Japan as the projectile flew towards the Pacific Ocean. Japan subsequently issued a protest against the incident.
The launch comes shortly after Japan, the United States and South Korea held a trilateral meeting in the United States where they reaffirmed their commitment to “strengthening trilateral responses to [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] threats,” including ballistic missiles.
22 August, 07:06 GMT
The attempt by North Korea to launch the military satellite also came during joint exercises between the South and the US called Operation Ulchi Freedom Shield, the largest exercises involving the two countries since the ceasefire that ended hostilities during the Korean War.
North Korea has repeatedly condemned the exercises, calling them a rehearsal for invasion.
A US State Department spokesperson told Sputnik the launch attempt violated United Nations Security Council resolutions.
"Space launch vehicles (SLVs) incorporate technologies that are identical to, and interchangeable with, those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)," the spokesperson said. "Any DPRK launch that uses ballistic missile technology, which would include SLVs used to launch a satellite into space, violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions."
Military observers have noted that North Korea is likely developing a military reconnaissance satellite to help narrow the gap in intelligence gathering between it and South Korea and the US.