Controversial North Korean Earth Observation Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit

[Satellite TODAY 04-16-12] The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched an Earth observation satellite April 13 that failed to reach its intended orbit, according to KCNA, the DRPK’s official news agency.

   The Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite was launched on a long-range Unha-3 rocket from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, but exploded and crashed into Korean waters just minutes after liftoff.
   “The Earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit. Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure,” the DPRK said in an official statement.
   Despite almost universal criticism from international governments, the DPRK said its launch was for peaceful purposes and would not harm the region or neighboring countries. The DPRK conducted a similar launch in April 2009, which according to the KCNA, successfully put the Kwangmyongsong-2 communication satellite into orbit.
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