North Korea’s Long-Range Missile Fails After Liftoff

Defying international pressure, North Korea launched a long-range missile Friday morning. However, U.S. officials say they believe the attempted launch failed before the missile was able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

U.S. officials confirm that a North Korean long-range missile appears to have broken apart midair after launch. Officials say they believe the missile fell apart within the Earth’s atmosphere before crashing into the sea. South Korea’s Defense Ministry first reported the launch, which is seen as defying international warnings and widely viewed as a provocation from the rogue state. The U.N. Security Council will meet Friday to discuss a response to the North’s attempted launch.

South Korean and U.S. intelligence reports say the launch was made from the west coast launch pad in the hamlet of Tongchang-ri. The launch comes after weeks of speculation regarding the possible launch, which North Korea’s government says was being done to send a weather satellite into orbit. If true, it would represent the third failed attempt by North Korea to send a satellite into space since 1998.

North Korea says it was timing the launch to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s former leader, Kim Il Sung, which they are celebrating Sunday. However, most observers say the launch is actually tied to the country’s missile program. Japan has already given its military clearance to shoot down the rocket if it crosses into Japanese airspace.

There was no word from North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, about the launch. North Korean television was reportedly broadcasting popular folk music at the time of the launch and has only said it will offer an announcement on the launch “soon.”

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Times 24/7

Where on Earth Will the Defunct NASA Satellite Crash?

NASA is baffled as to where exactly a 6-ton out-of-orbit satellite will crash on Earth. According to their latest projections, pieces of the satellite are expected to reach the planet’s surface sometime between Thursday and Saturday. Its debris could land anywhere between the latitudes of northern Canada and Southern America, which means just about anywhere.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) was put into orbit during a space shuttle mission in 1991 and it collected ozone and chemical measurements in the atmosphere for the next 14 years, Reuters reports. However, it has slowly been losing altitude since 2005 due to the Earth’s gravity and has been inoperative for almost six years now.

The huge satellite has been falling faster than anticipated because of increased solar activity last week. This can cause the Earth’s atmosphere to heat and expand, increasing drag on low-flying spacecraft. [Read more…]