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North Korea Missile Launch Fails

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-of-the-strings-must-have-broken dept.

The Military 609

An anonymous reader writes "Remember the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch by the North Koreans last night? You know, the one that went over Japan and supposedly put a 'communications satellite' into orbit. Well, according to the US Northern Command and NORAD it has been a complete and utter failure, with the second stage and payload 'falling in the Pacific.'"

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... lol. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470139)

Fail.

PROPAGANDA (4, Funny)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470293)

How do you know that's true if you're not reading the official North Kolea [blogspot.com] Blog?

Re:... lol. (5, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470321)

Unless the real goal was to prove that they can nuke Japan.

Re:... lol. (3, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470669)

Yes, because that would be a great idea on their part.

Seriously, when are we going to stop believing our governments' attempts to keep us scared of one bogey man after another?

What would the DPRK possibly benefit by nuking Japan, other than the safe knowledge they'd need a pretty accurate stopwatch to measure the very short span of time between them doing that and their government being vaporized as every other nation on Earth expressed their displeasure with large amounts of ordinance.

Japan poses no threat to the DPRK. The DPRK's aggressive stance is a response to the isolation and aggressive rhetoric aimed at it by the US, an attitude which is just a holdover from the cold war when North Korea was a USSR satellite state.

Why would any nation want to isolate itself the way the DPRK is isolated? US-DPRK relations are an artifact of the cold war, and unlike the USSR, no state large enough to actually compete with the US emerged there, so the tiny country is being stomped on for no good reason other than for siding with the losing superpower from the twentieth century.

Seriously, how about we stop eating the BS they feed us and doing a little analytical thinking for ourselves for a change? Anyone?

Re:... lol. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470619)

I bet Kim Jong Il's feeling so ronery right now...

Woo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470149)

GO KOREA!

Re:Woo (1, Funny)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470261)

GO KOLEA!

There.

Re:Woo (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470423)

You think Koreans are Japanese?

Koreans can pronounce 'r' just fine.

Re:Woo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470457)

YesbuttheywritelikethisasKoreanhasnospaces.

Silly Koreans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470155)

ICMBs are for first world countries.

Re:Silly Koreans (5, Funny)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470183)

Not to be confused with ICBM's. :-)

Re:Silly Koreans (2, Insightful)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470385)

Both are correct. I prefer Inter-Continental Missiles, Ballistic. It makes document filing more practical when dealing with I-C Missiles, Vomit and I-C Missiles, +5 Arrows.

Re:Silly Koreans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470679)

Everything you mentioned was actualy ballistic.

Opportunity (5, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470157)

This might be a great opportunity to see exactly how far advanced their missile/rocket program is, assuming we've got salvage vessels in place to pick up the pieces.

Re:Opportunity (2, Funny)

The Rickster (84119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470247)

Is the Glomar Explorer still in service?

Re:Opportunity (3, Funny)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470349)

The outcome of the test says a lot more about that than anything we would discover by forensic analysis (which is of course precisely why they were performing the test).

I'm sure you could put Kim Jong Il in a hissy-fit by saying you found it and were reverse engineering secret NK technology, however. ;)

Re:Opportunity (4, Interesting)

XorNand (517466) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470405)

Not necessarily. I'm sure Western scientists would love to know *why* it failed. It would be interesting to know if we have the capability to salvage it though (assuming North Korea didn't include an auto-destroy mechanism onboard).

Re:Opportunity (4, Interesting)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470513)

The US definitely have the ability to salvage it, if it were found. Locating it would be the hard part. Just estimating, but I'd have to put the probability at just about zero.

Re:Opportunity (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470549)

Given that even contemporary western satellite launches, with a few decades of technology and refinement at their backs and with paying customers on the line, fail from time to time; I strongly suspect that there are a lot of people who would very much like to know if this launch was "the tech is utter shit, I'd be surprised if 1 in 100 actually perform as advertised" or "eh, probably ~10% chance of this happening on a given launch, bad luck for the first go".

Might also be interesting to see what sort of "communications satellite" was heading for Tokyo and/or orbit.

Re:Opportunity (4, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470581)

The outcome of the test says a lot more about that than anything we would discover by forensic analysis (which is of course precisely why they were performing the test).

I don't think so. The remaining pieces of the rocket might be able to tell us quite a lot.

It could be the case that the North Koreans are bumping up against some of the same problems that we did 60 years ago, when we were developing our own rocket program. If we know what made it fail, we'll know what they'll have to change to make it work, and exactly what technological advancements NK will need for future rockets to be successful. We can target our intelligence/diplomatic/military energies on those precise technologies.

Also, we'd probably be able to tell exactly what the purpose of this rocket was: ICBM or satalite. That can drastically alter the type and severity of potential US/UN retaliation.

More knowledge is always better than less.

Re:Opportunity (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470383)

I wouldn't be surprised if they dredge the thing out of the ocean only to find some North Korean expletive scrawled on the side - something like "screw you America, and your little submersible too!".

-AC

Re:Opportunity (0, Troll)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470451)

Or... better yet. We could salvage the bottom of cereal boxes for the secret decoder rings.

Even if they are cheap plastic toys made to amuse 4 year olds, they are certainly more advanced than anything North Korea has.

Re:Opportunity (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470531)

Pasteboard incorporating recycled stock may well be more advanced than an AK-47, but it isn't actually more useful during an international conflict.

Such a simple thing... (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470161)

You'd think even North Korea could get a missile launch right. I mean, it's not rocke...err, oh yeah, nevermind.

Re:Such a simple thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470257)

On the subject of the OP, watch all of this [break.com] it's worth it.

Re:Such a simple thing... (0, Flamebait)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470585)

Yeah, but they are ASIANS!

SCAVENGER HUNT!!!! (1)

Roy Hobbs (1267752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470163)

I'll draw a cool map

Re:SCAVENGER HUNT!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470199)

Too late, Blizzard [blizzard.com] beat you to it.

Obligatory Nelson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470167)

Haaaaaaaahaaa!

Wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470179)

The US government and the popular media have been spouting this nonsense that it was a "failure."

BS.

I guarantee you the NK engineers learned from this "failure." Tests aren't failures as long as you learn from them. Since we don't know whether or what NK learned from this, calling the test a "failure" is pure speculation.

Re:Wrong (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470271)

I disagree, the point was putting the rocket up. The sanctions were for attempting it, so they'll end up with sanctions, the missed the successful launch and they're missing the PR victory that a successful launch would have provided.

They may end up getting some PR by claiming that it was sabotaged or shot down, but I wouldn't count on getting anything from that. And they're not going to learn much without getting one into orbit. Which coincidentally will probably won't be possible with the increase in cooperation that this is likely to result in between the surrounding nations.

If they manage to salvage a little bit of information it's unlikely to be worth the problems.

Quite so... (4, Interesting)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470403)

Particularly cause they DO plan to launch a few more.

http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13432014&source=features_box_main [economist.com]

For weeks, American military intelligence, using its own satellite images, had followed launch preparations at the Musudan-ri missile site near North Korea's eastern seaboard. Given that a brand-new missile complex is nearly finished on the western seaboard from which the next Taepodong-2 launch had been expected, the timing and place of these preparations caused some experts to scratch their heads. Yet South Korea is due to launch its first satellite into space this summer, so from the North's viewpoint, a space race is on. Other international factors probably played a part, of which the most important was to test President Barack Obama's new administration. Marginalisation ranks high among the regime's fears.

Makes one wonder if they perchance don't have another one ready to be launched from the new launch site?

Re:Wrong (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470541)

Hehe, you sound like Elon Musk.

Re:Wrong (4, Insightful)

Zancarius (414244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470555)

The US government and the popular media have been spouting this nonsense that it was a "failure."

I guarantee you the NK engineers learned from this "failure." Tests aren't failures as long as you learn from them. Since we don't know whether or what NK learned from this, calling the test a "failure" is pure speculation.

I halfway agree with you. The fact that the missile made it over Japan was a success. However, be aware that in our own space program, whenever we had failures, we were often able to recover enough debris to determine precisely what the cause of the failure was. With the rocket splashed down somewhere in the Pacific, NK is only going to have pure speculation as to what the probable cause was. I can guarantee you that the US and her allies probably have a good idea where the upper stage and payload landed, and are probably planning on recovering it. After all, we need to know: 1) what the payload really was and 2) what the failure mode of the missile was in order to estimate how advanced their technology is.

Plus, there's other advantages to having a splashdown in our backyard: We can prevent them from recovering the rocket and learning about their own failures except through further trial and error. Will NK eventually solve these problems? Probably. However, our best bet is to delay them.

Remember, early in our space program, test failures were what happened when the rocket blew up on the launch pad. We could learn from that. No doubt NK did the same thing. However, whenever we had launch failures where a rocket came down a significant distance from the launch point, few things beat examining the wreckage for probable problems. Yes, we had extensive telemetry during flight, too, and maybe NK has that; but until the wreckage is recovered--hopefully by us--there's no telling how it failed. We stand to learn a lot from their failure, too, as I've mentioned before.

One other poster below made the point about this being successful if the intent were to test the range of the rocket. I find that to be much more likely. As far as the story goes, however, the rocket itself was most likely a failure.

Re:Wrong (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470579)

It's a good point. I'm fairly sure I'd be on solid ground if I stated that the first ICBM launch attempt of either the Russians or the US "failed" too.

Re:Wrong (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470599)

Going one step further, who are we to say that this was a "failure" at all? Sure, North Korea stated that this was a launch to deliver a satellite to orbit, but we have no idea what the real intention of the launch was. For all we know, the second stage could just have been a dummy and the real purpose of the test would have been to test the first stage of a ballistic missile still in development.

Gloating over N. Korea's apparent "failure" in this test smacks of hubris to me.

Shocker! (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470181)

Wow, never expected that! If only there was a use for a launch vehicle that doesn't make it to orbit..

Re:Shocker! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470577)

Just cross out "strategic" and pencil in "tactical"...

Re:Shocker! (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470607)

You do realize that ICBMs actually do into orbit or near-orbit for a short period of time right?

Re:Shocker! (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470663)

By height, not necessarily by speed. Still, all reaching orbit does is prove that you can hit any target on earth - they don't have to be able to do that. They can easily hit Japan.

Lil' Kim (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470201)

When you see Arec Barrwin, you see the true ugriness of human nature.

They should have asked Iran (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470209)

Let me guess, they couldn't figure out how to get the Photoshop crack to work.

You have to overwrite the .dll file!

Anyone find it? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470211)

Just wondering what exactly they payload was.

Re:Anyone find it? (2, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470253)

I hear the rocket was carrying a load of BS ... and that, given the international community's response to the launch, we can say that the rocket did, in fact, hit its target.

Re:Anyone find it? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470303)

Yawning and saying "Not a threat"? Now, if the Japanese had tried to shoot it down and failed...

Re:Anyone find it? (0, Offtopic)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470445)

Not 24 hours after the launch Obama's up there making his big speech on nuclear disarmament... the UN is having emergency Security Council meetings, Japan is screaming, Russia is annoyed, China and Indonesia are mildly concerned due to rising tensions, Mexico is going to come up with a Strongly Worded Statement... and random Congress-critters are making statements to the media... Heck, check out the BBC's quotes from various worldwide officials on the matter [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:Anyone find it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470605)

"Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK"

"GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT"

Something subtle tells me 'these aren't the quotes you're looking for.'

whoooops. (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470649)

You, sir, are completely right. Google has failed me and I didn't even notice! haha. :( You may continue your mockery of my 1336 internet ski11z.

Failure in what sense? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470219)

How is this a failure? They launched an ICBM that cleared Japan before hitting the water, thus proving they now have the capability to deliver a nuclear strike against Japan.

If this was a test to see what the effective range was of the missile, then they absolutely determined that and there was no failure. While I dislike the way North Korea interacts with the rest of the world, I find the highly suggestive wording of the write-up to be misleading and inaccurate.

I think we all knew the 'satellite' story was BS, so we can't evaluate the launch in terms of whether they put something in orbit or not. That part is irrelevant.

Re:Failure in what sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470305)

Excuse me, since when did they have a nuclear device capable of being fitted on such a small rocket? Everything I've read in the past two days seems counter to them being capable of anything more than a "dirty" bomb strapped to a rocket.

North Korea's claim was that they were trying to launch something into orbit, if it landed in the ocean that's sort of a failure to me. If we're disregarding the whole orbit thing, the US is only concerned if it poses a threat to Hawaii/Alaska, and it isn't.

How do we know they even fueled the whole thing to max, and that it was even supposed to go any farther? Maybe they got it to hit exactly where they wanted?

Re:Failure in what sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470327)

Yeah, they have the capability of launching a nuclear strike as long as the nuclear payload weighs nothing.

Launching a rocket is easy. Launching a rocket with accuracy and enough payload to cause enough damage is another.

I'd be more impressed (or worried) if they launched something of value (or weight) instead of just dumping this stupid rocket off the coast of Japan then claim the satellite is in orbit broadcasting "patriotic songs."

Re:Failure in what sense? (4, Interesting)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470511)

Sheldon Cooper, is that you? This is Leonard. I disagree. The Taepodong 2 that they launched was a 3 stage rocket capable of delivering a 500kg payload. That's enough for a nuke. The first stage landed in the ocean west of Japan. The second stage landed in the ocean east of Japan. So that says they had a successful launch, successful separation of the first and second stages and a successful flight of the second stage - over 200 seconds of continuous flight. That's quite a bit considering their previous test blew up only 40 seconds after launch - the first stage exploded. Now, do you still think they didn't learn from their mistakes? Sure, there might be a nut in the seat of power, but don't let that discredit their scientists' and engineers' capability.

Re:Failure in what sense? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470329)

Korea to Japan, or just over, is not exactly in the 'intercontinental' range.

Re:Failure in what sense? (2, Funny)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470397)

How funny would it be if they actually called their shot and put the vehicle down right where they told NATO they would.

And the free world news outlets are trumpeting the failure - all the while our generals are having aneurysms in the war room.

Re:Failure in what sense? (4, Informative)

Reapman (740286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470435)

They've had missiles that could reach Japan for quite some time already... this was quite the failure for them.

Re:Failure in what sense? (1)

John3 (85454) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470503)

It didn't complete the mission, so it failed. That makes it a failure. Was it a total failure? No, it didn't blow up on the launch pad so it wasn't a total failure.

In the court of world opinion, it definitely is a total failure. Rather than inspiring fear, people are now snickering and ridiculing the missile's premature splashdown.

Re:Failure in what sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470583)

But you're not quite right either, unless by "nuclear strike" you mean a dirty bomb. Can they miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit onto a launch vehicle yet?

Re:Failure in what sense? (2, Insightful)

Zancarius (414244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470651)

How is this a failure? They launched an ICBM that cleared Japan before hitting the water, thus proving they now have the capability to deliver a nuclear strike against Japan.

If this was a test to see what the effective range was of the missile, then they absolutely determined that and there was no failure. While I dislike the way North Korea interacts with the rest of the world, I find the highly suggestive wording of the write-up to be misleading and inaccurate.

As I mentioned in reply to another poster, this is still technically a failure--though, I suppose you're right, as it depends on what their intent was. If in fact the initial report from the US and Japan is correct (and I think it is) that there was a failure in stage separation, the launch was most certainly a failure. For the developed world, the best course of action we have is to recover the debris and determine precisely what that failure was. One, we stand to learn more about their technology, how progressed they are, and how they've corrected previous engineering mistakes and oversights. Two, we can learn more about the payload, if in fact it was a satellite, or if it wasn't, what they were attempting to launch. We can probably also learn more about their telemetry, if any, and what sort of instrumentation they had installed. This is valuable information in its own right, because we can determine what they probably learned from their own launch. (My gut feel is that they didn't have much in the way of telemetry; if they were intent on developing a serious weapon system, they wouldn't make quite so much noise. This is a political ploy as much as a test--maybe more so.)

To be honest, I have a feeling that this is more along the lines of what other posters have mentioned. The launch is an attempt to get attention from the developed world, drag the US back into six party talks, and possibly seek aid from Washington (or bargain for lesser sanctions so they can work on more nefarious programs). Of course, there's the other side of the coin: Kim Jung Il could be a raving lunatic who honestly doesn't understand that dropping a nuke on Japan, US, or Australia would imply that his regime would suddenly disappear overnight. Still, I think it's a test of the Obama administration, and sabre-rattling.

Re:Failure in what sense? (1)

xianthax (963773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470673)

thats like saying a pitcher has proven he can throw strikes because he can throw a ball to the backstop... FFS getting the thing up is the easy bit, getting it to come down and hit anything close to what you were aiming at is the hard part, especially when your aiming at a narrow island like japan, clearly they have failed at getting it up, perhaps some more junk mail from cialis is needed?

now we can find out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470225)

.. maybe if it was communication satellite or not... the CIA just have to send out an other deep-sea Titanic exploring expedition.

Fireworks (1, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470233)

Are we even sure these are actually rockets ?
Given how much Kim likes to party these could just be really big fireworks.

Re:Fireworks (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470471)

You mean a 3 story tall bottle rocket that can fly over Japan? Yeah, that'd be a rocket, and I guess they could be called "really big fireworks".

shrug (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470237)

Two out of three ain't bad.

Eh (3, Informative)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470239)

First-world nations had plenty [wired.com] of [wikipedia.org] problems [wikipedia.org] with their space programs at first too. Considering that North Korea has isolated itself, it's not surprising that they're going through the pain everyone else went through 60 years ago.

Re:Eh (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470279)

Err, of course the USSR didn't count as first world. What I meant was "developed".

north korea is a troll (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470277)

and like any troll, the only way to react to it is ignore it

trolls feed on attention, any attention, psotive or negative. currently, north korea is basking in the joy of the world condemning it. just like a troll basks in the glory of watching people lose their temper over a purposely vitriolic post of theirs. just like westboro baptist church enjoys the hatred as they picket funerals

it doesn't matter that it is being condemned. what matters is that it is the focus of attention. this is the essential psychopathology of their behavior

if you ignore north korea, it will do progressively more and more dangerous things, all calculated to garner attention again. and then it will screw up, and then it can finally be taken down like the rabid dog it is

not that any of this will happen though. all that will happen is it will continue to get way more attention than the basket case human suffering machine deserves

north korea can't feed its own people. but it can launch icbms. pathetic troll of a country

Re:north korea is a troll (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470333)

> if you ignore north korea, it will do progressively more and more dangerous things, all
> calculated to garner attention again. and then it will screw up, and then it can finally
> be taken down like the rabid dog it is

At the cost of how many hundred thousand South Korean (and possibly Japanese) lives?

i said it would never happen, in the next sentence (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470387)

of course getting rid of north korea does more damage than letting it stick around

that's what north korea counts on

like any kidnapper with a gun to a hostage's head

Re:north korea is a troll (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470459)

Let's also ignore them selling nuclear technology to Iran and Syria. Maybe nothing will come of it.

Re:north korea is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470625)

> if you ignore north korea, it will do progressively more and more dangerous things, all
> calculated to garner attention again. and then it will screw up, and then it can finally
> be taken down like the rabid dog it is

At the cost of how many hundred thousand South Korean (and possibly Japanese) lives?

You mean several *million* South Korean lives.

Re:north korea is a troll (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470395)

I live in Seoul, you insensitive clod!

I am serious.

And since you are an insensitive clod and most likely an American, consider this. Tens of thousands of American soldiers and civilians live in or near Seoul. Right now. That means they are within artillery range of North Korea. (No, I'm not kidding.)

Feel better?

It's so easy to make bold assertions when you don't know or care about the consequences...

in the next sentence i said it would never happen (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470455)

taking north korea out does more damage than letting it continue existing

a kidnapper holding a gun to a hostage's head counts on the same logic

which is what seoul is: the hostage that lets the sleazbags to the north continue to draw breath

the regime in pyongyang has 0% legitimacy. the onyl reason it exists is due to the number of guns it has pointed at everyone else. not like it even cares about its own people or good relations with any of its neighbors

its just the rabid dog on china's leash to give south korea, japan, and the usa indigestion

if china ever became convinced the regime in pyongyang no longer served any geopolitical purpose, it would disappear overnight

Re:north korea is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470587)

Silly person! Everyone knows you can't take a troll donw by ignoring it. Now on the other hand if you use acid or fire...

Probably shot down by our new ... (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470291)

airborne laser, the Boeing YAL-1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_Laser [wikipedia.org]

Not being able to see the laser beam from NK, it would appear to be just a malfunction.... an act of Nature ... the fuel tank just ruptured and exploded.

Re:Probably shot down by our new ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470351)

Occam's Razor, dude, Occam's Razor.

Re:Probably shot down by our new ... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470355)

Except that according to the reports there was no explosion: just a seperation failure.

Re:Probably shot down by our new ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470487)

Except that according to the reports there was no explosion: just a seperation failure.

You just said insert and tighten bolts! You never said anything about EXPLOSIVE BOLTS?!

Re:Probably shot down by our new ... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470665)

Not being able to see the laser beam from NK

A beam that powerful wouldn't make the missile glow, or ionize the air, or glow on water vapor, etc?

Third party verification? (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470299)

according to the US Northern Command and NORAD

Not to get all tinfoil-hat on everyone, but has anyone closer to a neutral third party got any information?

I don't doubt the NORAD report, but it might be nice to have a source without a vested interest make a report as well.

Re:Third party verification? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470393)

If they were going to lie wouldn't you expect them to say the test was a success so that they could get ABM funding?

In any case, I don't think that there is anyone with the resources to provide your verification that doesn't have a "vested interest".

Re:Third party verification? (4, Informative)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470427)

Few sources without a vested interest are equipped with the tracking radars and other equipment needed to verify whether or not the launch failed.

Re:Third party verification? (2, Interesting)

rnelsonee (98732) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470547)

Yeah, phrases like "complete and utter failure" don't really help. As far as I know, this was 100% successful - who's to say the second stage was even present? And a satellite? I know the administration told the public that they launched a satellite, but that doesn't mean they were really trying to do so. Many North Koreans aren't aware that we've even landed on the moon yet (according to a NatGeo documentary I saw), so it's not too hard to fool them.

We do know that they launched a rocket a considerable distance - enough to hit the largest metropolitan area on Earth, and one of U.S.' closest allies; and once they get a second stage, chances are they can us US territory. It's not something we should just write off.

Re:Third party verification? (1)

sysusr (971503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470561)

It would probably be more beneficial for them to say the test was an unprecedented success.

Re:Third party verification? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470603)

Is anyone going to spend the money for a global missile tracking system unless they have some sort of "vested interest"? I don't think so.

How long is this gonna go on? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470315)

They can't even keep their people fed, and yet they're trying stupid shit like missle tests. I wonder how many years this regime has left in it. I mean, it can't last forever. They're pissing away all their money on that massive army, and living on handouts from the likes of China. I really feel for the average citizen living there. They can't even fucking leave. They're practically living in the nightware world that Orwell described decades ago. I'm curious as to what this country's fate will be.

Re:How long is this gonna go on? (5, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470353)

I wonder how many years this regime has left in it. I mean, it can't last forever. They're pissing away all their money on that massive army, and living on handouts from the likes of China.

Are you talking about North Korea, or the USA?

Re:How long is this gonna go on? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470591)

Recent U.S. debt auctions have been well subscribed, you apparently hold the minority view, or, at least, there are plenty of people with money to lend who disagree with you.

Re:How long is this gonna go on? (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470675)

Recent U.S. debt auctions have been well subscribed,

For the moment.
Your credit card functions perfectly right up until the first "transaction denied" message too.

Re:How long is this gonna go on? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470641)

Arguably, the North Korean regime is propped up by China simply to ensure that South Korea (which is a US ally) does not gain a direct land border with the Chinese homeland. That, and the fact that any collapse of the North Korean state would send a flood of refugees into the Chinese countryside, causing even more displacement and unrest.

maybe it wasn't a space satellite after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470407)

and now it's circling Japan 20m _below_ the ocean surface.

Glorious Success! (5, Funny)

Auzzie (259025) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470411)

Far from a failure. North Korean Scientists put their satellite in an extremely low geosynchronous orbit!

A bit wetter than they thought it would be though.

Re:Glorious Success! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470565)

LOL! Too bad its negative altitude above the Pacific Ocean means it is lacking line-of-sight with anything important.

ICBMs (2, Informative)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470413)

Are designed to do one thing well, deliver a payload to a distant target within a certain CEP. That's why the 'B' in 'ICBM' stands for 'Ballistic'. Just like the NK ambassador to the UN said, "The test was a complete success." Duck and cover, children!

rocket science (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470415)

To me that N. Korea got a vehicle even past first stage is impressive. Launch vehicles are hard. If nothing else managing a project that size requires a great deal of skill, I doubt the average MBA can do it. I recall at one place I worked we tried to find an MBA to help us manage. We couldn't find anyone so had to send on of the techs to MBA school.

Even if we get the launch, space is not something we have a lot of first hand experience with. Getting things to work in space is hard. The world is getting more experience now that we have an international space station, and more countries are getting experience operating in space. This can only help everyone long term as innovative solutions are developed.

One may fall to jingoistic and chauvinistic temptation when it comes to this, especially since we have been trained to fear those that are different from us, but I doubt that is useful here. From what I read, the trajectory was orbital, not intercontinental. As we have seen, there are much easier ways to deliver mass destruction than these vehicles. It could be that N. Korea wants to be in the space game, and have such things as communication satellites of their own.

And it would be good that the US does not get too cocky. We are stuck in LEO. To get back to the moon is going to require a learning curve after a generation of inactivity. At this point we may not want to fund it. People think we can magically make it Mars without any baby steps. If there is anything to fear it is that N. Korea is doing science while we are arguing over evolution.

NORAD, acronym FAIL (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470467)

North American Aerospace Defense .. always laughed at the way the military has no respect for acronym formation. They often take the letters from where-ever they can get em and sometimes they just throw in a letter from no-where. It used to be North American Air Defense.. but then they had to deal with ballistic missiles, which are clearly out of the air when you want to detect them, so they upgraded to "Aerospace". Personally, I thought they should have upgraded to "North American Orbital and Air Defence" .. of course that still leaves the R being borrowed from ORbital, but hey, it's an improvement. Having the R stand for "Realtime" would be good, if only NORAD did realtime tracking, which they don't. The oldies among us may remember when NORAD announced that civil defense training was pointless, as no-one would have time to get to a bunker.. because they just can't detect launches, and the target of launches, fast enough. This hasn't changed in 30 years. There's still an airman sitting at a terminal doing this monitoring. There's no Googlesque computer doing search for launch indicators and tracking flight trajectories. The only reason they're not still using slide rules is because pocket calculators are government subsidized.

With whom was this satelite going to communicate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470545)

Given N Korea's lack of communication rights, wouldn't their communication needs be satisfied with a 50 foot tower on the palace grounds?

Quality Article! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27470589)

Really, this was the best coverage of the story available? The Giz article is QUALITY reporting, right there...

Thanks for the free nuke, Kim! SUCKER! (0, Redundant)

Bushido Hacks (788211) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470639)

Now that we know that the rocket was a test for an ICBM missile, now would be a perfect opporitunity to show them how the big boys (that means AMERICA) how to properly operate a guided missle.

One glass parking lot coming up! !

Unfortunately.... (2, Informative)

darkharlequin (1923) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470653)

...even by failing, they obviously learned something about the performance of that missile, and will draw conclusions that will allow them to build better missiles in the future. This reflects poorly on the United States, NATO, China, Japan, and S. Korea, since they couldn't prevent this clearly provocative activity from occuring and get N. Korea back to the table. The UN will do nothing, even with Ban as the secretary general.

conspiracy theory (1)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27470657)

Or the US anti ballistic missile system is a lot better than we were led to believe!!!

Failed? Or shot down by lasers on sharks!!!

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