Tags: north korean | satellite | tumbling | orbit

North Korean Satellite Tumbling Uselessly in Orbit Nothing New, but How It Got There Matters

Image: North Korean Satellite Tumbling Uselessly in Orbit Nothing New, but How It Got There Matters

North Korean long-range rocket is launched at the Sohae rocket launch site in a photo released by North Korea's Central News Agency. (REUTERS/KCNA)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 06:49 AM

The North Korean satellite launched on Saturday is tumbling in orbit, making it unable to gather data or perform other functions.

According to Time magazine, the launch of Kwangmyongsong 4 drew international condemnation from China to the West, however it is not the orbiting machine that worries critics the most. In fact, the hermit kingdom already has one other satellite, launched in December 2012, tumbling through space.

Of most concern to the international community is the Unha 3 rocket that propelled the satellite into orbit. It is the same type of rocket that could carry a nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile to U.S. shores.

China condemned the satellite launch ahead of lift-off, however North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not only ignored the appeal, but scheduled the launch on the eve of the Chinese New Year, the country's most important holiday.

After the launch, President Barack Obama told CBS News that he's been concerned about North Korea's behavior for a while.

"This is an authoritarian regime. It's provocative. It has repeatedly violated U.N. resolutions, tested and produced nuclear weapons and now they are trying to perfect their missile launch system," he said.

"I spoke with President Xi of China just a few days before this launch about the need to really tighten the noose on them. But what we're also doing is consulting with the South Koreans for the first time about more missile defense capabilities to prevent any possibility that North Korea could reach U.S. facilities or U.S. populations."

Some countries at the UN have called for more economic sanctions on North Korea, however it's generally thought that China will be reluctant to impose such sanctions. If North Korea were to suffer an economic collapse, China could experience a flood of refugees streaming in over its border — something it absolutely does not want.

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The North Korean satellite launched Saturday is tumbling in orbit, making it unable to gather data or perform other functions.
north korean, satellite, tumbling, orbit
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2016-49-09
Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 06:49 AM
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