June 23rd, 2024

North Korea says its attempt to put another spy satellite into orbit has failed

By Hyung-jin Kim And Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press on May 27, 2024.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, center, waves as he boards the plane to leave after attending the trilateral meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Chinese Premier Li Qiang, at the Seoul airport in Seongnam, South Korea, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea says its attempt to put another spy satellite into orbit has failed.

North Korea’s state media said a rocket carrying the spy satellite exploded in mid-air on Monday.

State media said the explosion was possibly caused by engine failure.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story is below:

North Korea launched a rocket likely carrying its second military spy satellite on Monday night, hours after its announcement of a plan to put a satellite into orbit drew strong rebukes from its neighbors.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected a launch trajectory believed to be of a spy satellite fired from the North’s main space center in the northeast at 10:44 p.m. on Monday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that a North Korean rocket was launched in a southern direction off the Korean Peninsula’s west coast. It said four minutes after the launch, many fragments were spotted in the waters. It said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were analyzing whether the launch was successful.

Earlier Monday, North Korea had notified Japan’s coast guard about its plans to launch “a satellite rocket” during a launch window from Monday through June 3.

Japanese Prime Minister’s Office lifted a missile alert issued for the island of Okinawa following North Korea’s launch, saying that the missile was believed not to be headed for its region.

North Korea sent its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit in November last year as part of efforts to build a space-based surveillance network to cope with what it calls increasing U.S.-led military threats. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later told a ruling party meeting that the country would launch three additional military spy satellites in 2024.

The November launch followed two failed liftoffs.

In the first attempt, the North Korean rocket carrying the satellite crashed into the ocean soon after liftoff. North Korean authorities said the rocket lost thrust after the separation of its first and second stages. After the second attempt, North Korea said there was an error in the emergency blasting system during the third-stage flight.

The U.N. bans North Korea from conducting any satellite launches, viewing them as covers for testing long-range missile technology. North Korea has steadfastly maintained it has the right to launch satellites and test missiles. Kim has said spy satellites will allow his military to better monitor U.S. and South Korean military activities and enhance the threat posed by its nuclear-capable missiles.

North Korea provides Japan with its launch information because Japan’s coast guard coordinates and distributes maritime safety information in East Asia.

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Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.

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