05/07/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

North Korea Successfully Launches Satellite Into Pacific Ocean

North Korea has successfully launched a satellite into a near earth orbit and it is now circling the earth at about 1 mile below sea level. That's right: North Korea's Taepodong-2, the much-feared long-range missile that had even the Obama camp worried, broke up over Japan at about 11:37am and then fell into the water at 11:48am on Sunday. The launch is described as a wonderful success in North Korean reports although American military command believes it to be a failure, although the ability to push a rocket even close to U.S. soil is obviously disconcerting. The NYT writes: North Korea's public portrayal of the event as a complete success was similar in its celebratory tone to the happy note it struck in 1998 after having failed to loft a satellite into orbit. If so, North Korea - which has now test-fired three long-range rockets, each time unsuccessfully - is learning a lot about limitations. 2

Pyongyang claims that a satellite was put into orbit: Japanese and US air-defence commanders have stated this is untrue. According to the US Northern Command, the rocket was a "Taepodong-2" long-range missile, which launched at 3:30 PM UK time on Saturday. 1
  1. Failed Nork Rocket Bits Straddle Japan (The Register)
  2. North Korea Successfully Launches Satellite Into Pacific Ocean (TechCrunch)