Feeds

North Korea announces missile test sat launch

Champagne on ice at US raygun-jumbo HQ

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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 preparations for a satellite launch are well advanced. Satellite launch rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles are very similar technology, differing only in details, and such statements are standard diplomatic procedure.

"Full-fledged preparations are under way to launch the pilot communications satellite, Kwangmyongsong No 2" according to the Northern government-run Korean Central News Agency. The launch site given was Hwadae, the facility from which the Taepodong-2 was previously tested in 2006. On that occasion the rocket failed catastrophically 40 seconds into flight, ending up in the ocean.

However North Korea has carried out other tests of more successful shorter-ranging designs, including one in which a rocket passed over Japan into the Pacific. The Pyongyang government is thought to have the materials and expertise to make a nuclear weapon, and indeed perhaps to have tested one underground or in cooperation with another nation, but 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 - or, depending on assessment, a further bargaining chip for Pyongyang to trade away in exchange for foreign aid, as has occurred with the nation's nuclear programme in the past. An unsuccessful test, however - and the test will be intensively monitored by the US and perhaps other nations - would reduce North Korea's credibility at the same time as upsetting regional and world powers.

Any test and its result is not only critical for Pyongyang and the game of world diplomacy. It would also be a make-or-break moment for the US Missile Defence Agency and all its mad technology - laser jumbo-jet, orbital kill-swarm hover interceptors, sat-kill cruisers, robot blimp and all. The MDA is though to be under severe threat of budget cuts with the change in US administration, but a successful Taepodong-2 test could give it a stay of execution at least. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.