The North Korean Satellite

It exists, and it seems to be tumbling out of control. I have to say I’m more surprised by the former than the latter. Of course, it’s actually easier to orbit a satellite than it is to deliver a warhead on target, as long as you’re not fussy about how precise the orbit insertion is.

And on an unrelated grammar note:

Russia added its voice to the condemnation of the launch and also called on other nations to refrain from further escalating tensions.

“The new rocket launch carried out by North Korea flaunts the opinion of the international community, including calls from the Russian side,” it said.

I don’t know if the Russians released this in English, or the translator screwed up, but the word is “flout,” not “flaunt.”

4 thoughts on “The North Korean Satellite

  1. Godzilla

    Whatever. This rocket isn’t practical as an ICBM. I am sort of surprised they haven’t managed to successfully launch a space launch vehicle of this type any sooner considering they are supposedly doing joint nuclear weapon and launch system development with Pakistan and Iran.

    Their Nodong IRBMs are a lot more worrisome.

    As for range I thought you had unlimited range once you got orbital if you used something like the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System. North Korea hasn’t signed any treaty banning the use of such systems.

    1. Larry J

      Remember, our first generation ICBMs (Atlas and Titan I) were liquid fueled, as was the Titan II (hypergolics). The Soviets fielded many liquid fueled ICBMs including the SS-18 Satan. If you’re planning on launching first, liquid fuel isn’t necessarily a drawback.

      Developing an operational ICBM is harder than putting an object in orbit. First, the guidance system needs to be very accurate to hit a particular target as opposed to sending a warhead “to whom it may concern” or “occupant”. This rocket might be accurate enough to threaten Oahu in general instead of Honolulu in particular, but maybe not. Second, a warhead needs shielding to survive the trip back through the atmosphere.

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