North Korea's Failed Spy Satellite Launch Explodes In A Fiery Debacle

hero kcna north korean rocket launch
North Korea’s attempt to launch a second spy satellite into space ended in a fireball. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which is North’s official news agency, reported the rocket blew up because of a suspected engine problem.

The failed launch came just hours after leaders of South Korea, China, and Japan met in Seoul in the three countries’ first trilateral meeting in over four years. The launch drew the ire of countries to the North because of North Korea being banned from conducting any rocket launches by the UN, as many see them as a cover for testing long-range missile technology.

According to KCNA, the vice director of the National Aerospace Technology Administration remarked that a preliminary examination showed that the explosion was perhaps related to the reliability of operation of the newly developed liquid oxygen-petroleum engine. The news agency added other causes will be investigated.

North Korea notified Japan that it would launch a satellite rocket on Monday, along with a warning to exercise caution in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and China and east of the main Philippine island of Luzon during the launch window from Monday to June 3. Both Japan and South Korea called for international action if the North went ahead with the launch.

Japan and South Korea expressed concerns following the launch. Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara called it “a serious challenge to the entire world,” while South Korea’s Unification Ministry called it “a provocation that seriously threatens our and regional security.”

The successful November launch of a spy satellite into low-Earth orbit followed two other failed attempts. The first crashed into the ocean shortly after launch, while the second was said to be an error in the emergency blasting system during the third-stage flight. There is little doubt North Korea will continue to attempt more rocket launches in the future after its latest failed launch.