After several failed attempts by North Korea to launch a satellite-carrying rocket, the country finally put a satellite in orbit earlier this week. However, US officials say that the satellite is out of control as it orbits the earth.
North American Aerospace Defense Command detected the launch Tuesday at 7:49pm Eastern Time. When the rocket passed over Japan on its way to orbit, the rocket’s first stage splashed down into the Yellow Sea, and later the second stage fell into the Philippine Sea. Soon after launch, the United States and confirmed the launch success, and that the space object the rocket was carrying reached orbit.
However, talking to NBC News, officials said that the satellite is “tumbling out of control” and is going every which way.
The official, speaking under anonymity, said:
“There are some initial indications [North Korea] might not have full control.”
This is dangerous because the the satellite can potentially collide into other satellites, causing not only disruption of the satellite’s purpose, but the collision will send debris in space causing further risk to other satellites, spaceships and astronauts. Also, the chaotic movements are dangerous, because while officials are certain it is a space object, and North Korea says it is a satellite, officials still haven’t been able to determine exactly what the satellite is supposed to do. Many countries believe that it is an attempt to disguise a test of a three-stage intercontinental missile.
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemned the launch, saying it was a clear violation of U.N. resolutions. Under the terms of U.N. sanctions imposed after a series of nuclear weapons tests in 2006 and 2009, North Korea is banned from conducting missile and nuclear tests.