Despite All Evidence, North Korea Claims a Successful Satellite Launch

By Eliza Strickland | April 6, 2009 8:45 am

rocket launchWhile the international community reacted with outrage to North Korea’s rocket launch on Sunday, calling it a provocative test of a long-range missile, North Korea’s isolated leader, Kim Jong-Il, continued to insist that the launch was an entirely peaceful enterprise. Kim has repeatedly said that the rocket was intended to send an experimental satellite into orbit, and said it would mark the beginning of his country’s space program. There was also disagreement on the basic question of whether anything reached orbit. Officials from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) say the rocket’s payload splashed down into the Pacific Ocean, while North Korea claims that the satellite is already broadcasting from space.

The North Korean news agency reports that Kim is pleased and proud. “Expressing great satisfaction over the fact that scientists and technicians of the [North Korea] successfully launched the satellite with their own wisdom and technology, he highly appreciated their feats and extended thanks to them,” the agency said…. According to North Korea’s official media, not only did the country successfully send a communications satellite into orbit, but “it is sending to the Earth the melodies of the immortal revolutionary paeans ‘Song of General Kim Il Sung’ and ‘Song of General Kim Jong Il'” [CNN].

NORAD says that stage one of the rocket fell into the Sea of Japan, and that the remaining stages and the payload itself landed in the Pacific. But although the launch was apparently a failure, some experts note that North Korea has improved the range of its rocket. According to the South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the range of the rocket was double that achieved in North Korea’s previous Taepodong-2 missile test, carried out in 1998. Citing South Korean and US intelligence authorities, the paper reported that the rocket’s second stage landed in waters about 1,984 miles (3,200km) from the Musudan-ri launch site [The Guardian].

Related Content:
80beats: North Korea’s Planned Satellite Launch Sounds More Like a Missile Test
80beats: Iran Gets Its Sputnik Moment With First Successful Satellite Launch
80beats: Pentagon Disputes Iran’s Boast of Sending a Rocket Into Orbit
DISCOVER: Shield of Dreams explains what it would take to build an antiballistic system

Image: iStockphoto

  • http://Discover Phinneus

    Seems like the civilized world is going to drag its feet and threaten to cut off shipments of cocoa puffs and toliet bowl cleaner to Iran and N Korea as punishment, while they both try to perfect their crude attempts at launching their dollar store missles.
    How long do we wait while the camel jockeys try to follow through on their pledge to annhillate Israel? Better question is, how long will Israel wait?

    Even worse is the MADMAN controlling N.Korea having nukes to deploy in any manner. Just a matter of time before he decides to not take his anti-psychotic meds any more, and in a whirlwind of fantasy and delusion he decides it would be a nice start of the week to nuke Japan or go for broke with Alaska. Then of course the fit will hit the shan, and nukes will rain down and the world will NEVER be the same.
    A real puzzle is the response of China and Russia in protecting this certified lunatic from real international action that might change his behavior…nah..never mind nothing will change psychosis. A ‘change in leadership’ is a nice way of saying that this fruitcake needs to be eliminated, and the Chinese are the ones that should do it!

    Something seriously MUST be done to prevent a global inferno before these lunatics get enabled to launch nuclear weapons. If no one else will do it, than Obama will need to realize their is more to being President than taking bows

  • Damian

    I always follow the international policy advice of scholars who use the phrase “camel jockey”. You’re right Dr. Phinneus! What we need is another war! Where’s my armchair?

  • Nick

    Phenneus, your commentary is inflammatory. Iran has not once in the past 200 years been anything other than peaceful EXCEPT when we’ve gone in for Regime Change. The blood Islamic Revolution, that cooked off the year of my birth, was a righteous overthrowing of an american puppet-dictator that was installed (the Shah) after we sacked the country’s previous leader with a CIA instigated coup.

    The ONLY reason they are uncooperative with us is we try to deny their national sovereignty. India and Pakistan, who have been fighting at least the last 50 years over Kashmir, both have been allowed to develop their own nuclear weapons, NOT sign the NPT (which, by the by, Iran has, and by and large abided by, unlike the good ol’ U.S. of A) AND have received military aid and civilian nuclear aid (which most likely goes to their weapons program in whole or part), from us.

    Speak of MADMEN, you should look up Nixon’s MADMAN theory, which Bush continued very well and pushed to the limit.

    So when you worry about tin-pot dictators like Kim Jong Il, rest assured it’s because our government and news media has blown them hugely out of proportion as a wag-the-dog maneuver to try to get you to ignore the situation at home.

    And as to Iran, that’s just personal because they wouldn’t obey us when we installed a puppet dictator for “their own good.” Since they wouldn’t obey, now they’re a “problem.”

    P.S. camel jockey is a racist term and has no place in scientific discussion except to serve up unsavory opinions of yourself.

    P.P.S. What’s this “shan” you’re talking about? Perhaps you meant the “Shah” of Iran? That was the dictator we set up after we overthrew their country in the 50s, and was deposed in the Islamic Revolution (taking back their country’s political process and instituting democracy… which we’ve demonized them for across these last 30 years).

    P.P.P.S. North Korea hasn’t demonstrated the ability to target much else than a body of water. Sure, they launched a missile OVER Japan but that does NOT equate to the ability to actually hit anything.

    P.P.P.P.S. Out of all the country’s you’ve mentioned, only Israel has nukes and has been involved in invading other countries pretty much every year since their country was incepted. I think you are worrying about the wrong problems, my friend.

  • Nick

    P.P.P.P.P.S. Oh, by the way, it’s spelled Phineas. Phinneus is a made-up misspelling of Phineas.

  • Max

    It’s scary to think that N. Korea is actually making progress with these launches. I mean just because they didn’t get a rocket into orbit on their first try doesn’t mean it was a failure. How many rockets have our scientists have failed? More on how the launch was a success and a failure,

  • http://Discover Phinneus

    KNicky I will spell Phinneus any way I want to.

    ‘Political comment is a scientific disussion”? Since when? When the ‘fit hits the Shan’ is obviously beyond you. Certainly I intended my comment to be inflammatory.
    Sit and fondle your love beads Knicky, and make excuses for the countries promising to exterminate the Israelis. And yes Camel Jockeys expresses clearly my thoughts on the leadership of Iran. My opinions of myself are quite clear! Very poor usage on hyour part by the way.
    Do you also deny the Holocaust?? Should we.[oh yes, you are most likely not part of ‘we’]wait until these fine respectful and responsible people are capable of starting a war that will demolish most of the world. A careful reading of your comment exposes your real lack of the situation, a stilted use of ordinary English and probable alliances. And most definitely I am not ‘your friend’!

  • http://Discover Phinneus

    Sit in your armchair Damian, and join the masses of do nothing citizens who Earl Butz was talking about. By the way..who mentioned another war?

  • Nick

    You brought up global thermonuclear war, even if you didn’t explicitly state it as such.

    Again I say your inflammatory comments have no place in science, let alone politics. If you carry a gun and threaten people with it, someone will eventually shoot you, seeing you as a threat. Attitudes like yours have wrecked America’s image and global good-will.

    Regime change has never worked out well when Americans carried it out, and it will work no better if the Chinese assassinate Kim Jong Il.

    I defy you to point me to one situation where a non-native anti-government uprising and overthrow of a political system resulted in any sort of lasting good situation. The United States has tried, again and again, and has failed miserably at it.

    And remember, like when Bush was in charge, what the leader of a country espouses is not necessarily the will of the citizenry. The Iranian people are a very westernized, peaceful nation, and calling for their invasion on a non-starter threat to a not-very-peaceful nation by their leader isn’t going to enrich America’s geopolitical goodwill. If an actual invasion took place, it would be one thing….

    But tell me, if you’re so hot to prevent other countries from going to war, where were you when Russia invaded Georgia, a complete act of aggression?

  • Kyle

    I don’t understand why people will side with Israel. Is it a religious thing or the holocaust? Whatever it is the whole “giving them a country” thing was a bad idea. They kicked out people that were living there for thousands of years and settled in like they owned it, which they did at one point but they left, not the Palestinian’s fault. Now the Israelis have checkpoints everywhere even inside the Palestinian Territories and make daily life Hell for the Palestinians. Oh yeah the Israeli army also shoots at children and kill them. Why anyone would support them is beyond me. Think about how you would feel if you had to give up your house so Israelis had a place to live.

  • http://Discover Phinneus

    Knicky I was screaming for intervention when Russia invaded Georgia. [I have friends in Atlanta!!]
    Any kind of discourse with s stauch supporter of Iran is a waste of my time.
    ‘A Westernized peaceful nation?????’ A joke.HFH! Say good night KNick and do not forget your lithium.

  • John Cassady

    Uhh, the Israelis didn’t “settle in like they own it”, they bought it fair and square. Then when the Islamic countries surrounding it realized they were getting Jewish neighbors they freaked. I am not a supporter of Israel’s military tactics but you have to acknowledge that they are defending themselves from all sides against suicide bombers and other crazy fanatics, who by the way also target children. And Nick give it a rest North Korea is run by a lunatic and Iran is run by a religious fanatic. Should we attack and change the regime, no, but we certainly need to do more to make sure they don’t acquire the ability to start the dreaded thermonuclear war.

  • Portnoys A. Zherk

    The Judaics are just embarrassed that they were wood, fire and stone worshipping desert beasts until the ancients of N. Iran taught them monotheisim and how to live like civilized humans.

    You know it’s funny that I can make the falcon food from a recipe of the Pharaohs…yet there is absolutely NO mention of any part of the wonderous tale of ancient Judaics in Egypt.Funny that.

  • Damian

    What a great discussion! Thanks, Phinneus! You’re good at this!

    Is “troll” a racist term? Because with you, sir, I use it only with profound respect and admiration!

  • http://Discover Phinneus

    Ah yes, Damian…the shortcoming of the printed word in these comment types of communications..sarcasm is lost or misinterpreted; as is racism, as we are all racists in one way or another! ‘Troll’ is certainly not the least favorable term used to describe me, and probably fits as well as most others.
    Good night… I do need to go and guard my bridge.

    And to Knicky if he is out of his anti-psychotic haze yet, you were right about one thing[only]. I do carry a nice little[but powerful]legal gun, all the time. No one has ever seen it, but should some pansy like you neeed protection, I am there! Attitudes like mine will help restore Amereican image and good will!

  • http://Discover Phinneus

    Portnoy..what is falcon food and what is the recipe from the Pharaohs??


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