North Korean satellite had no military utility for spying, says South Korea
Lends credence to theory that Pyongyang is testing ballistic missiles against international rules
A North Korean satellite allegedly designed for reconnaissance was not viable for its alleged intended purpose, according to South Korea's military on Wednesday.
North Korea attempted to put the satellite into orbit on May 31, but it instead plunged into the sea soon after it was launched.
In a rare admission of failure, North Korea state media explained the root cause as an error in the carrier rocket – an "abnormal starting of the second-stage engine after the separation of the first stage" that caused the carrier rocket to lose thrust.
The satellite was recovered by South Korea after a 36-day search and salvage operation using naval vessels, aircraft and deep-sea divers.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the spacecraft was analyzed by US and South Korean experts and determined to have "no military utility as a reconnaissance satellite."
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North Korea has vowed to try again "as soon as possible." North Korean despot Kim Jong Un said the country was driven to get a spy satellite in space to counter threats from the US and South Korea.
Meanwhile multiple countries have condemned the maneuver as violating international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from using ballistic missile technology.
A string of unsuccessful launches and uncommunicative satellites from the country has led to a theory that North Korea has used a sense of entitlement to a space program as a cover for testing ballistic missiles against international rules.
The discovery that the satellite was not viable for this use has only provided credibility to this theory. ®