Friday, April 13, 2012

North Korea shoots large, short-lived firework

NBC report on failure

Well, this time NK didn't even get to the stage separation problem that doomed their last satellite effort. The first stage failed in what must have been a spectacular display of ineptitude.  I don't know what they will do to the engineers. ( "Comrade, you are sentenced to worst punishment imaginable: to type our the wisdom of the late Dear Leader onto Twitter every day for the rest of your life!")  NK admitted the failure, at least to the outside world. Not clear what they told their own citizens, who still believe the first two satellites made orbit.  While my friend Jim Oberg, on the scene, was skeptical of the rocket's chances of success, I thought it would probably make it given the draconian penalties for failure and the determination of the engineers to get everything right for once.
What effect does this have? Brazil, the last nation to try joining the satellite launching club and endure three failures, gave up.  NK is not a rational nation, but it's a major setback, both for satellite ambitions and for their closely-related long range missiles.  The rest of the world is probably breathing a little easier. 

No comments: