Wednesday, December 19, 2012

North Korea's first satellite kaput

Here's an excellent article recapping the North Korean satellite launch.  From this article and other sources, here's my FAQ on the launch:
 - Did they get a satellite in orbit? Yes.
 - Was the launch legal? Under a broad reading of the Outer Space Treaty, yes. According to specific UN resolutions, though, No.
 - Did the launch test components for a ballistic missile? Likely the first two stages and some other hardware, probably including the guidance system, were "dual use."
 - Will there be any consequences to North Korea? Not likely.
 - Did it function in orbit? No.
 - Is there any danger to the surface when it reenters? Possible, but unlikely: it's pretty small.

So North Korea can legitimately claims to be an orbiting space power, the first new nation to join that "club" since Iran.  But so far, there's not much of significance to the feat.

No comments: