After North Korea’s failed rocket launch last April embarrassed the government of newly installed leader Kim Jong Un, you would think the country would make sure it had worked out all the technical kinks before announcing plans for another. Not so.
The New York Times with the official explanation for why the government has pushed back its planned launch of its Unha-3 rocket:
On Monday, a spokesman for the Korean Committee of Space Technology said scientists found “a technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module” of the three stage rocket. Although preparations to launch the rocket were at the last stage, the spokesman was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, scientists were forced to extend the window for launching by a week until Dec. 29.
Western nations will no doubt be pleased with the news. The United States and its allies accuse North Korea of launching rockets as part of a plan to develop long-range ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. The United Nations has banned the reclusive nation from using such technology, and sanctions have been imposed from previous tests. North Korea, however, insists the purpose of the rocket launch is to put a scientific satellite into orbit, which, it claims, it has every right to pursue.