Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Closing in on N Korea satellite launch

Third attempt is controversial, to say the least

Governments are shooing ships and planes out the areas subject to overflight and possible debris hazards (and, according to North Korea's past launch history, entire falling rockets) as the Stalinist nation gears up for its third satellite attempt. The first two went into the Pacific, although most people in the isolated nation probably believe the government's claim they were successful.  The U.S. and other nations (Japan is particularly incensed) call this a major violation of limits NK agreed to in the discussions involving food aid and NK's nuclear program.  Japan has threatened to shoot the rocket down on the grounds it's really a missile test and only secondarily a satellite launch.  A lot of people are holding their breath.
COMMENT: Technically, North Korea's not violating any formal treaties if it's genuinely launching into orbit, since all nations are allowed the free use of space.  But  it seems determined to joint the other 10 space-launch powers under circumstances guaranteeing a major diplomatic, political, and maybe military confrontation. 

1 comment:

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