back to article North Korea announces missile test sat launch

North Korea is preparing for a further test of its long-range ballistic missile the Taepodong-2, according to reports. The missile design is thought capable of reaching parts of the United States, though it has not yet achieved a successful trial. The Guardian reports that Pyongyang has issued a statement claiming that …


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  1. Tim

    But its a WMD!!!

    Quick, call in Team America to tackle the threat from this axis of evil before we all die horrible deaths.

    Oh wait. . .

    No oil only fish. . .

    Nah forget it, not worth the bother

  2. lIsRT
    Black Helicopters


    I hope for the conspiracy theorists' sake, one of the ABLs is on a "routine test flight" when/if the rocket blows up.

  3. Hollerith

    we can tell the difference

    A satellite will be in space if it's a satellite launch, and a big BOOM will be heard if they are test-driving a weapon.

    Just a guess.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Little bit of confusion here...

    This wouldn't be the first time North Korea has tried a satellite launch. In 1998 they claimed to have put a satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng, into orbit using a smaller Taepodong-1 derived rocket. For once they weren't entirely lying; it looks like it was a genuine satellite launch, but either the final stage failed to fire or it didn't fire in the right direction, because the satellite was never located in the published orbit; instead its debris was recorded falling across a large swathe of the North Pacific.

    Despite evidence to the contrary, the North Korean government claimed that Kwangmyŏngsŏng was orbiting high over the Earth playing back revolutionary songs.

    It's entirely possible this test of the Taepodong-2-alike is also a satellite launch attempt. After all, the much better funded and successful Iranian Safir-2 launcher is little more than a rebadged (oh god I hate typing this word) Taepodong-2.

  5. null

    Of Course

    Of course they'll be using the missile to launch a satellite. Afterall, the requirements necessary to launch a satellite are the same required to launch a re-entry vehicle. I highly doubt that North Korea has mastered the complex and precise manufacturing process required to build the re-entry vehicle and the warhead. Furthermore, launching a satellite gives them plausible diplomatic cover. It's much easier and safer to launch some crude Sputnik-style satellite.

    Do Western governments have reason to be concerned? Sure - it was only 2 years after launching Sputnik that the Soviets fielded their first ICBM. Of course, North Korea doesn't have nearly the manufacturing and scientific ability of the Soviet Union, nor the ability to test their weapons.

  6. Lionel Baden

    ill let you decide

    but isn't generally assessed as being able to mount a nuke on a missile yet.

    Should we tell them about gaffa tape ???

  7. Bob Gender
    Dead Vulture


    "Satellite launch rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles are very similar technology, differing only in details,"

    "Penguins and transit vans are very similar things, differing only in details"

    Me fail English? Unpossible.


    "..isn't generally assessed as being able to mount a nuke on a missile yet. A successful Taepodong-2 test, however, would be a further step toward such a capability"

    Umm.. How does testing a new ICBM (MRBM, more like) get them any closer to solving the major engineering issues around turning a 3-ton engineering device into a 450Kg nosecone-shaped weapon? One doesn't lead to the other. The issue isn't a lack of suitable missiles, it's managing to turn a reliable nuclear weapon into a much, much more compact and resilient package.

    "After all, the much better funded and successful Iranian Safir-2 launcher is little more than a rebadged (oh god I hate typing this word) Taepodong-2."

    Little more? I think you need to review the recent Omid launch... Quite a bit more than a rebadged Scud stack, I think.

  8. Luther Blissett

    Move over Steely Dan


    Life imitates Freud (Sigmund not Lucien). What type of dildo would that be, Radio Luther asks. The one to reach the parts of America that the others can't, one shouldn't wonder. What would the effect be?

    The mind boggles, the knees tremble, the warm fuzzy feeling spreads... time for a song to go with the dong. Choices, choice, choices. War or peace. Peace or war. She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me. She loves me not.

    Radio Luther would like to dedicate the next number to all those who haven't yet found the answer to those existential dilemmas - those caught on the horns of the dilemmas, you might say, hehe. So let's hear it from someone who did. Bring it on, Little Richard...

    Good Golly, Miss Molly.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Expensive test

    Even for countries who are able to actually build sattelites, this remains an expensive undertaking.

    Given the record of their launch attempts, I'm not sure if they actually have built a sattelite, they would want to risk putting it on top of an untested missile.

    I think the last time this was attempted, it was Ariane 5?

    How did thatwork?

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