Glitch not deterring rocket launch
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea said Monday that a technical glitch had been found in the rocket it had planned to launch as early as this week to put a satellite in orbit, but that it still planned to try the launching by the end of the month.
North Korea announced on Dec. 1 that it would launch the rocket, called the Unha-3, sometime between Monday and Dec. 22. But on Sunday it said it might have to postpone the launching, without specifying a reason, prompting speculation in the region about what motivated the delay.
On Monday, a spokesman for the Korean Committee of Space Technology said scientists had found “a technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module” of the three-stage rocket. Although the preparations to launch the rocket were nearly complete, the spokesman was quoted by the state-run Korean Central News Agency as saying that scientists were forced to extend the window for a launching by a week, until Dec. 29.
North Korea said it was exercising its right to the peaceful use of space technology by using the rocket to put a scientific satellite into orbit. But the U.N. Security Council, as well as the United States and its allies, say North Korea’s purpose is to develop the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead.