12/12/2012 10:17 pm ET Updated Dec 13, 2012

North Korean Satellite 'Tumbling Out Of Control' In Orbit: Report

North Korea successfully launched a rocket Wednesday, an act the international community condemned as a thinly veiled weapons test. North Korea has said their only intent was to place a weather satellite in orbit.

Now in orbit, though, that satellite doesn't appear to be capable of doing... well, much of anything. In fact, U.S. officials told NBC News the object appears to be "tumbling out of control."

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed a North Korean rocket launch was detected at 7:49 p.m. EST on Tuesday (0049 GMT Wednesday), and that "the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit." Beyond that, however, the satellite's purpose hasn't been readily apparent.

The satellite poses a collision risk to all other spacecraft in orbit, an ever-growing possibility with every new addition to our skies. The first such ever accidental collision of satellites occurred in 2009.

When North Korea attempted to launch a rocket in April of this year, one official described the satellite as a "dishwasher wrapped in tinfoil," The New York Times reports.



North Korea Launches Rocket