DPRK's latest military spy satellite 'exploded in mid-air'

North Korea fired the projectile on a southern path off its west coast at around 1344 GMT, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. (Photo/AP)

North Korea has said its attempt to launch a new military reconnaissance satellite ended in failure when a newly developed rocket engine exploded in flight.

The attempt on Monday came just hours after Pyongyang issued a warning that it would try to launch a satellite by June 4, in what would have been its second spy satellite in orbit.

Instead, the launch became the nuclear-armed North's latest failure, following two other fiery crashes last year. It successfully placed its first spy satellite in orbit in November.

"The launch of the new satellite carrier rocket failed when it exploded in mid-air during the flight of the first stage," the deputy director general of North Korea's National Aerospace Technology Administration said in a report carried by state media.

An initial analysis suggested that the cause was a newly developed liquid fuel rocket motor, but other possible causes were being investigated, the report said.

Officials in South Korea and Japan had earlier reported that the launch seemed to have failed.

Disappeared over Yellow Sea

North Korea fired the projectile on a southern path off its west coast at around 1344 GMT, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

JCS said it had detected a large amount of debris from the rocket in the sea just two minutes after launch, however.

The object launched by North Korea disappeared over the Yellow Sea, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters, adding the government presumes nothing had entered the space.

“These launches are in violation of relevant security council resolutions and are a serious matter concerning the safety of our people," Hayashi said.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed video of what appeared to be an orange dot flying into the night sky and then bursting into flames in an area close to the border between China and North Korea.

A Japanese defence ministry official told reporters that the colour of the flames in the footage suggests that liquid fuel may be burning, but details are currently being analysed, NHK reported.

The launch would be the nuclear-armed North's attempt to place a second spy satellite into orbit. After several failed attempts that ended when the rockets crashed, North Korea successfully placed its first such satellite in orbit in November.

The North's first bid to launch the new Chollima-1 satellite rocket, on May 31 last year, ended after a failure in the second stage. State media blamed the setback on an unstable and unreliable new engine system and fuel.

Another attempt in August also ended in failure, with stages of the rocket boosters experiencing problems resulting in the payloads crashing into the sea.


Source: TRT