Glitch not de­ter­ring rocket launch

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT -

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.

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