The details are murky and, considering the source, unlikely to become much clearer. But word is the much vaunted North Korean launch of a Unha-3 rocket from a newly completed Tangachai-ri space center, believed to consist of three stages with at least one heavy liquid fuel stage, failed just after liftoff for reasons unknown.
(ABC News) — The 90-ton rocket launched with a larger than anticipated flare. But U.S. officials said that the missile is believed to have crashed into the sea. It was launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the northern part of the country, near North Korea’s border with China. Anticipation of the missile launch began when the Communist nation had announced a five-day window for launching a satellite, which began on Thursday.
There are a lot of things that can wrong on such a device. Some leading possibilities are combustion chamber instability, breaches in the ultra high-pressure pumps and pipes that feed fuel by the mega-liter to the engine, pre-sonic or sonic shock damaging the casing and/or infrastructure, or stage separation malfunction. Instability in particular is a tough nut to crack. Back in the mid sixties that same problem held back the development of the F-1 rocketdyne engine used on the Saturn V Apollo program for months.
What’s sad is the only reason they tried was so they could go for another world shake-down; nobody wants the North Koreans to have ballistic missiles, let alone nukes, and some nations are willing to fork over humanitarian aid for their starving population and long collapsed economy just to keep them from trying. Sheesh, if any nation’s masses need an Arab Spring moment, it has to be these poor, misled, hungry Korean souls and the tiny circle of vicious ignorant shitheads exploiting them.
Given the past shenanigans of these authoritarian freaks, a new 29 year-old heir apparent notwithstanding, they could issue a press release anytime whining that we shot it down or a western capitalist pig saboteur was at fault. Assuming they bother to inform the world or their own populace about it at all. But I doubt anyone knows what actually went wrong, and right now that probably includes the North Koreans.