Wednesday's much-anticipated North Korean launch of a spy satellite ended in failure when the rocket's second stage had an "abnormal start," according to state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), and plunged into the Yellow Sea. The launch had been anxiously anticipated for several days by neighboring Japan and South Korea. North Korea has announced that a second launch will be conducted as soon as it can be planned.
"The new satellite vehicle rocket, Chollima-1, crashed into the West Sea as it lost propulsion due to an abnormal startup of the engine on the 2nd stage after the 1st stage was separated during normal flight," KCNA said.
The launch was Pyongyang's sixth attempt to launch a satellite and the first since 2016. While the rocket was supposed to launch a spy satellite into low Earth orbit, the "reliability and stability of the new engine system," failed causing an embarrassing mission failure for North Korea.
The news agency also reported that the National Space Development "will investigate and clarify in detail the serious shortcomings that occurred in the satellite launch, take urgent sci-tech measures to overcome them and carry out the second launch as soon as possible through various partial tests."
Meanwhile, in Japan and South Korea, residents received urgent text messages advising them to "prepare to evacuate and allow children and the elderly evacuate first."
The failed satellite launch violated a UN Security Council resolution and prior to the launch, the U.S. National Security Council released a statement saying, "The door has not closed on diplomacy but Pyongyang must immediately cease its provocative actions and instead choose engagement."
"The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and the defense of our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies."
North Korea blatantly dismissed the warning and continued with the unsuccessful launch. While Japan and South Korea can relax for the moment, it's only a matter of time before Pyongyang is ready for another launch attempt.
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