North Korea wanted so desperately to send a nice big rocket into the heavens to honor the late Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il’s father, that they put as much effort into making sure the rocket was space worthy as they do importing Western food for the pudgy Kim Jong-un. Sadly the Unha-3 rocket which carried the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite didn’t even make it halfway to its destination and the usually tight lipped North Koreans even had to announce the missions failure. The embarrassing blow to the new leader is causing fears that they may try another nuclear test to demonstrate their scientific achievements. They must be flush with cash if they can build all of this!
April 18 2012: A bristling North Korea on Wednesday said it was ready to retaliate in the face of international condemnation over its failed rocket launch, increasing the likelihood the hermit state will push ahead with a third nuclear test.
The North also ditched an agreement to allow back inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. That followed a U.S. decision, in response to the rocket launch it says was a disguised long-range missile test, to break off a deal earlier this year to provide the impoverished state with food aid. Via Reuters
Is anyone else hoping that the North nukes itself?
The strong condemnation that even the failed launch is receiving is only a fraction of what is to come if they try to conduct another nuclear weapons test. They have tried two others. The United States has already cancelled a food aid shipment that the people of the North desperately needed and the UN has condemned the launch because they also believe that it wasn’t a peaceful mission. Experts around the globe feel that the rocket used to launch the “weather satellite” was the Norths attempt at an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile). The ICBM is used to ferry nuclear weapons and is what the United States currently uses as its first strike nuclear option and many other nuclear nations have ICBMs as well. The problem with North Korea trying to do this, aside from not having the technology to do it right, is that it not only violates UN rules but it also could mean more sanctions for the sanctioned out nation.
The United Nations Security Council called an emergency session Friday to discuss the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) launch and shockingly the usually defensive Russians and Chinese also condemned the provocation. What remains to be seen is how they will vote if sanctions are proposed. The Chinese come to North Korea’s defense in the typically useless UN about as much as the United States does for Israel. China’s response to the whole thing was expected seeing as they called for calm on all sides and avoided putting pressure on the regime. China is desperately afraid of losing the large buffer between it and 30,000 American troops.
American officials do not believe that China will support new sanctions however with a possible nuke test on the horizon China might get a little more testy with their unruly child. North Korea has isolated itself even more, suffered an embarrassing blow to their perceived superiority and cost their people much need food yet the same family has been in power since 1948.
The Unha-3 is a North Korean expendable carrier rocket, which experts say utilizes the same delivery system as the Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile. North Korea’s missile program is top secret so details are in short supply but based off of their previous rocket launches we can assume that it is comprised of old soviet technology. According to several analysts the Unha’s first stage consists of four clustered Nodong motors, which themselves are enlarged Scud motors. The second stage is supposed to be based on SS-N-6 technology North Korea is known to have acquired. The third and last stage might be identical to the Iranian Safir’s second stage which is propelled by two small gimballed motors. Due to the enormous dimensions of the missile and the excessive amount of time needed for fueling, the missile’s military value is questionable. Wikipedia
The ICBM is a ballistic missile with a long range (greater than 5,500 km or 3,500 miles) typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery (delivering one or more nuclear warheads). Most modern designs support multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allowing a single missile to carry several warheads, each of which can strike a different target. Early ICBMs had limited accuracy that allowed them to be used only against the largest targets: cities. They were seen as a “safe” basing option, one that would keep the deterrent force close to home where it would be difficult to attack. Attacks against military targets, if desired, still demanded the use of a manned bomber. Second and third generation designs dramatically improved accuracy to the point where even the smallest point targets can be successfully attacked. Similar evolution in size has allowed similar missiles to be placed on submarines, where they are known as submarine launched ballistic missiles, or SLBMs. Submarines are an even safer basing option than land-based missiles, able to move about the ocean at will. This evolution in capability has pushed the manned bomber from the front-line deterrent force in all forces but the United States and Russia, and land-based ICBMs have similarly given way largely to SLBMs. Wikipedia
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