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Thread: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

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    Default North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters


    By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press – 12 minutes ago
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea may have the bomb, but it hasn't perfected ways to put one onto a missile that could strike faraway enemies like the United States.


    This is why Pyongyang's announcement that it will launch a satellite on a long-range rocket next month is drawing so much attention: Washington says North Korea uses these launches as cover for testing missile systems for nuclear weapons that could target Alaska and beyond.


    Although North Korea isn't on the official agenda of next week's Nuclear Security Summit in the South Korean capital, here's a look at why the launch will be a major point of discussion when President Barack Obama and other world leaders gather in Seoul:


    THE HISTORY


    North Korea has spent decades trying to perfect a multistage, long-range rocket.


    Next month's launch — set to happen around the April 15 centennial of the birth of founder Kim Il Sung — would be the fourth of its kind since 1998, when Pyongyang sent a long-range rocket hurtling over Japan.


    A 2006 test was considered a failure, but North Korea grabbed attention shortly after with its first nuclear test blast. The U.N. Security Council later banned North Korea from any further nuclear or ballistic missile testing.


    North Korea's third launch, in 2009, was a partial success, with two of the three stages pushing the rocket over the Pacific. The third stage failed, and, despite North Korea's claims of success, no satellite was put into orbit, the U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command said.


    That test was condemned by the U.N. Security Council. Pyongyang protested that it was testing satellite technology for peaceful purposes.



    It subsequently abandoned six-nation nuclear disarmament talks and, weeks later, carried out a second nuclear test.


    The next year saw violence blamed on North Korea that killed 50 South Koreans, including an attack on a warship and the North's shelling of a front-line island.


    THE TECHNOLOGY


    Experts and governments will scrutinize next month's launch of what the North's state media call an Unha-3 rocket, presumably the next version of the Unha-2 rocket used in the 2009 test.


    Unha-2 represented a significant advancement over previous rockets, according to an analysis written by missile experts David Wright and Theodore Postol. It was roughly 100 feet (30 meters) long and may have been designed around Soviet missile components, the writers said.
    Next month's rocket is set to fire from a new site on the North's west coast, according to GeoEye and Google Earth satellite imagery posted by Tim Brown, an analyst for GlobalSecurity.org. The Tongchang-ri site is about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the Chinese border city of Dandong, across the Yalu River from North Korea.


    Positioned only 45 miles (70 kilometers) from the North's main Yongbyon nuclear complex, it has better roads and facilities, and allows a southerly flight path that keeps the rocket from flying over other countries, according to Wright, technical researcher at the Union of Concerned Scientists.


    The new rocket will probably have better boosters and engines — and might even succeed in putting a satellite into space if it contains one, said Sohn Young-hwan, a South Korean rocket scientist who heads the privately funded Institute of Technology and Management Analysis in Seoul.


    North Korea may have loaded the rocket's third stage with more fuel to increase capability, Wright said by email, part of improvements that "would translate to greater range if that technology was used to build a long-range ballistic missile."


    North Korea says the launch is meant to contribute to "international trust and cooperation in the field of space scientific researches."


    But because ballistic missiles and rockets in satellite launches "share the same bodies, engines, launch sites and other development processes, they are intricately linked," said Mark Fitzpatrick, an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.


    THE HURDLES




    So far, Pyongyang can only deliver a nuclear bomb "by boat, by van or by airplane, not by missile," according to scientist Siegfried Hecker of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.
    After half a century of persistence, North Korea is thought to have a fairly small nuclear arsenal.


    While it has enough plutonium for about four to eight "simple" bombs similar to what the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, Hecker estimates, it doesn't yet appear to have the ability to make bombs small enough to mount on a missile.


    Miniaturized warheads would require more nuclear tests, and Hecker warns that if North Korea breaks its nuclear test moratorium, "it will almost certainly be a test of a miniaturized design."


    THE DIPLOMACY


    Governments and experts are worried that a new rocket launch will spur a chain of events that will mirror 2009, resulting in a breakdown of diplomacy, another nuclear test and soaring tensions, threats and bloodshed.


    The United States has warned the launch would jeopardize a diplomatic deal settled last month that would ship U.S. food aid to the impoverished North in exchange for a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests, as well as a suspension of nuclear work at Yongbyon.


    U.S. officials will be pushing China to pressure its ally Pyongyang, and U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to raise the issue during a key meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the nuclear summit's sidelines. There could also be meetings among the U.S. and its Asian allies, Japan and South Korea.


    An unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday that his country "remains unchanged in its stand to sincerely implement" the nuclear deal, but warned in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency that "any sinister attempt to deprive" the North of its rights will lead to unspecified "countermeasures."


    Hecker, however, said a rocket launch "makes a mockery" of the U.S.-North Korea nuclear deal.


    "You use the same technology in long-range rockets that you do in long-range missiles," he said. "The only difference is what you put on top."


    Associated Press writer Sam Kim contributed to this report.
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    North Korea to hold special party conference ahead of satellite launch

    By Jethro Mullen, CNN
    updated 5:07 AM EDT, Mon April 2, 2012

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • North Korea says it will hold a ruling party conference on April 11
    • It comes ahead of a major anniversary and a planned satellite launch
    • The conference is seen as a way to consolidate Kim Jong Un's leadership



    Hong Kong (CNN) -- North Korea said Monday that a special conference of its ruling Workers' Party would take place next week, an event expected to solidify the authority of its new leader ahead of a controversial rocket launch.
    The meeting of party delegates, announced by state media, also comes just ahead of a significant anniversary for the secretive, nuclear-armed state -- the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea.
    At the conference on April 11, Kim Il Sung's grandson, Kim Jong Un, is likely to be named secretary-general of the Workers' Party, a key post that would underline his status as "supreme leader" of the insular regime, said Chung-In Moon, professor of political science at Yonsei University in Seoul.
    That appointment would be "a very important signal that he's consolidating power and positions from an institutional point of view," Moon said.
    It would also mean that Kim Jong Un would ex officio become chairman of the party's central military committee, following in the footsteps of his father, Kim Jong Il, who died in December.
    The expected conferring of the new titles on Kim Jong Un is scheduled to happen just before the planned launch of a satellite by Pyongyang between April 12 and 16, using a long-range rocket.
    The announcement last month of the satellite launch -- which countries like the United States and South Korea see as a cover for a ballistic missile test -- ratcheted up tensions in the region and prompted Washington to suspend a recent deal to supply food aid to the North.
    International leaders have urged North Korea to cancel the launch, but Pyongyang has refused to back down, insisting that the operation is for peaceful purposes.
    The last time Pyongyang carried out what it described as a satellite launch, in April 2009, the U.N. Security Council condemned the action and demanded that it not be repeated.
    Part of the significance of this launch is its timing to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who ruled the Communist state for more than four decades. His birthday on April 15, known as the "Day of the Sun," is a key public holiday in the North Korean calendar.
    By holding the party conference a few days before that day, the regime is probably aiming to ensure that Kim Jong Un holds the main titles in time for the big event, Moon said.
    He is already described by in official North Korean discourse as the "supreme leader" of the party, state and army.
    Moon noted that it is still unclear how directly the young Kim, thought to be in his late 20s, in involved in policy decisions.
    So far, Kim Jong Un, as the direct descendant of the country's founder, appears to be "reigning," while powerful senior officials in the regime like his uncle, Jang Song Taek, seem to be doing the "ruling," said Moon.
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    This matter should have the talking heads chattering, yet so far I have seen 1 short story on NK"s upcoming missle launch. I believe technicly, we are still at war with NK. In my opinion North Korea is more of a threat to the United States. I do not understand why the dunderheads in Washington haven't figured this out since the mid 50"s.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    One can only hope Japan shoots it down.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Red Alert
    Pentagon activates missile defenses for North Korean launch


    AP Images


    BY: Bill Gertz -

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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    It seems I read somewhere that parts of a North Korean missle had been found in Alaska. Of course that could mean the Aluetian Islands, which seem to extend quite aways towards the west. Unfortunately I didn't bookmark where I read the ino/misinfo.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Wasn't "misinfo" - it was "largely unknown" info.......
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    N.Korea 'Building Even Bigger Missile'

    North Korea is building a missile that is even bigger than the long-range missile it is preparing to launch this month, sources claimed Monday. South Korean and U.S. officials believe the North will unveil the missile at a military parade on April 15, nation founder Kim Il-sung's centenary, or on April 25, which marks the founding day of the North's Army.

    A government source here said U.S. reconnaissance satellites recently spotted a 40-m missile at a research and development facility in Pyongyang that is larger than the existing Taepodong-2 missile. "It remains uncertain whether this missile is functional or is just a life-sized mock-up," the official added.

    The rocket North Korea is preparing to launch soon is apparently 32 m long, the same as the Taepodong-2 that was launched in April 2009 with a maximum range of 6,700 km. The new missile is believed to be larger and equipped with a bigger booster that gives it a maximum range of more than 10,000 km, making it capable of reaching the continental U.S.

    englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 03, 2012 09:17 KST

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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Aww don't worry, they can't put a nuke on there.... (yet) and can't hit nothing but Alaska (so far) and they really mean us no harm (right....)
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Maybe I am wrong, but I see this kind of action from nork as a problem that could have been handled years ago. It seems to me that we keep rewarding bad behaviour. Stop rewarding bad behaviour and I got a feeling this problem starts to go away.
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    Hey liberal!

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    You can't handle the truth!

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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    3-4 N.Korean subs disappear after leaving east coast bases



    South Korea is tracking three to four North Korean submarines that disappeared after recently leaving two bases on the east coast, a South Korean military source said Wednesday.

    The source said the submarines are presumed to be of the 370-ton class that the South Korean military has been unable to locate since they departed from two submarine bases on the east coast.

    Another source said, “North Korea seems to be actively conducting submarine infiltration drills in the wake of warmer weather recently,” adding, “(The South Korean military) is closely watching the situation without ruling out the possibility of a provocation disguised as a drill.”

    Seoul is preparing for a potential surprise attack by Pyongyang aimed at South Korean naval vessels or military bases, as the North has threatened to make strong provocations against the South while planning to launch a long-range rocket between April 12 and 16.

    Moreover, the South predicts that the North is highly likely to catch the South off guard at a time when the latter`s military has concentrated its surveillance and strike force in areas near the Northern Limit Line, the de factor maritime border between the two Koreas, after the North sank a South Korean naval vessel in 2010.

    Choi Yun-hee, the South Korean Navy`s chief of staff, told The Dong-A Ilbo last month that the North is highly likely to turn the South’s attention to the west coast and commit provocations on the east coast or in rear areas.

    The North has 80 percent of its 70 to 80 submarines and submersibles ranging from 130 to 1,500 ton-class deployed on the east coast. It has large submarine bases in South Hamgyong Province.

    Military authorities of South Korea and the U.S. monitor movement at the submarine bases. Once they depart from the bases and go under water, however, tracking the vessels down is difficult.

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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Japan Mobilizes Troops To Intercept N. Korean Rocket

    4/3/2012 2:20 AM ET

    (RTTNews) - Japan will send 450 Self-Defense Force (SDF) personnel to Ishigaki island in Okinawa prefecture to intercept a North Korean rocket if it poses a danger to Japan, the Defense Ministry said on Monday.

    Under the plan, 200 SDF troops will go to Miyako island in connection with the deployment of ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors, mainly in Okinawa, the Kyodo news agency reported quoting Ministry officials. Even though possibility of the rocket or its debris falling on Japanese territory is minimal, the government is taking all precautionary measures.

    Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka last week ordered the SDF to intercept the rocket should any part of it falls into Japanese territory. He issued the order after North Korea announced last month its plan to launch a satellite, which the United States, South Korea and several other countries believe to be a cover for testing a long-range ballistic missile sometime between April 12 and 16.

    On Ishigaki, SDF forces are planning to camp out on reclaimed land near Ishigaki port as the SDF has no facilities there. About 140 vehicles are also to be deployed. The Ministry will also deploy 100 personnel at both the Air Self-Defense Force's Naha base and the Chinen submarine base in Nanjo on Okinawa island, the report said.

    South Korea has also mobilized its defense forces to shoot down the Communist neighbor's rocket if it strayed from its trajectory and violated the South's air space.

    South Korean media reports say that the North is going ahead with the proposed rocket launch despite international pressure.

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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    North Korea says shooting down satellite an act of war

    By Adam Button || April 5, 2012 at 14:08 GMT

    || 2 comments || Add comment

    North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, said to intercept the satellite is an act of war “and is bound to entail tremendous catastrophe.”

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post

    North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, said to intercept the satellite is an act of war “and is bound to entail tremendous catastrophe.”
    South Korea's official news agency said that to shoot a broken piece-of-shit missile with a pretend satellite on it across the top of our country is an act of war “and is bound to leave North Korean entrails all over the place and cause tremendous catastrophe to North Korea in general.”

    Japan refused to comment as they readied their anti-missile systems and pointed them in the direction of North Korea.....
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    And... your point is? Israel is out there trying to stir the pot? LOL
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Along with security threat, North Korea rocket launch presents potential intelligence bonanza

    By Associated Press,


    TOKYO — As the U.S. and its allies decry North Korea’s planned rocket launch, they’re also rushing to capitalize on the rare opportunity it presents to assess the secretive nation’s ability to strike beyond its shores.


    If North Korea goes ahead with the launch, expected between April 12-16, the United States, Japan and South Korea will have more military assets on hand than ever to track the rocket and — if necessary — shoot it out of the sky.

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    ( KRT via AP Video, File / Associated Press ) - FILE - In this April 5, 2009 image made from KRT video, a rocket is lifted off from its launch pad in Musudan-ri, North Korea. As the U.S. and its allies decry North Korea’s planned rocket launch, they’re also rushing to capitalize on the rare opportunity it presents to assess the secretive nation’s ability to strike beyond its shores.





    Behind the scenes, they will be analyzing everything from where the rocket’s booster stages fall to the shape of its nose cone. The information they gather could deeply impact regional defense planning and future arms talks.


    Military planners want to know how much progress North Korea has made since its last attempt to launch a satellite three years ago. Arms negotiators will be looking for signs of how much the rocket, a modified ballistic missile launcher, uses foreign technology.


    “There are a number of things they will be watching for,” said Narushige Michishita, a North Korea expert with Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. “If North Korea does get a satellite into orbit, that means it could deliver an object anywhere on the globe, and that has intercontinental implications.”


    One thing analysts could quickly test is North Korea’s insistence that the satellite launch is a peaceful mission. Experts can easily estimate from photographs the rocket stages’ mass ratio — a measure of their efficiency — and that will give a quick indication of whether the rocket is designed primarily to be a space vehicle launcher or long-range missile.
    They also will be watching where the rocket goes.


    North Korea says it will fire the satellite into a polar orbit. The “splash zones” for the booster stages suggest it will travel south over the East China Sea and the Pacific, rather than the easterly path it chose for a launch in 2009 that sent the rocket directly over Japan’s main island.
    That could indicate North Korea is being more cautious about its neighbors’ reactions — though it has alarmed others such as the Philippines which could be in the rocket’s path. But the launch could also have military implications.


    If North Korea were to attack the United States, Michishita said, it would likely launch to the north. It can’t feasibly conduct such a test, because that would anger Russia and China, which would be under the flight path. Launching to the south can provide similar data.


    Actually reaching the splash zones is another hurdle. In its 2009 launch, the stages barely made their zones, suggesting they had lower thrust than expected.


    Analysts stress that success by no means suggests North Korea could pull off an attack on the U.S.


    North Korea has a long way to go in testing the technologies required for re-entry — a key to missile delivery that is not tested in satellites. And while it is believed to be capable of producing nuclear weapons — and almost certainly wants to put them on a military-use missile — it is not yet able to make them small enough to load into a warhead. Doing so will likely require another nuclear test, which North Korea hasn’t done since 2009.


    The launcher itself is another issue — and it has a history of failure.
    The Unha-3 rocket that will be used is believed to be a modified version of North Korea’s long-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, which mixes domestic, Soviet-era and possibly Iranian designs.








    North Korea launched its first Taepodong-2 in 2006 and it exploded just 40 seconds after liftoff. A follow-up attempt in 2009 got off the launch pad and successfully completed a tricky pitching maneuver, but analysts believe its third stage failed to separate, sending it and the satellite it carried into the Pacific.


    Even so, physicists David Wright and Theodore Postol of the Union of Concerned Scientists say the 2009 launch displayed major strides over the Taepodong-1. If modified as a ballistic missile, they say, it would potentially give the North the capability to reach the continental United States with a payload of one ton.


    In an analysis of the 2009 launch, Wright and Postol suggested North Korea relies heavily on a stockpile of foreign components, likely from Russia. If data from the upcoming launch confirm that, it may mean Pyongyang’s missile program is severely limited by the isolated country’s ability to procure new parts from abroad.


    That could figure into future arms talks. If North Korea is running out of the parts it needs, it isn’t likely to conduct frequent missile tests and may be more willing to agree to moratoriums. More emphasis on blocking its imports would also make sense if the North cannot manufacture what it needs.
    What analysts find out will figure into regional security planning for years to come — as North Korea’s first attempted satellite launch did in 1998.
    Japan and the United States responded to that launch by pouring billions of dollars into the world’s most advanced ballistic missile shield. That shield includes a network of sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles and land-based PAC-3 Patriot missiles.


    Japan is now mobilizing PAC-3 units in Okinawa, which is near the path of the upcoming launch and where more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan are deployed. It’s also mobilizing PAC-3 units in Tokyo, which is much farther from the rocket’s expected path. South Korea is taking similar steps — which it didn’t do in 2009.


    The U.S. will be watching with equipment that was unavailable in 2009: a Sea-Based X-Band radar system, aboard a Navy ship that left Pearl Harbor late last month.


    U.S. officials claim the SBX system is so powerful it can track a baseball-sized object flying through space 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) away. Further, if U.S. military satellites detect a flash of heat from a missile launch in North Korea, within a minute computers can plot a rough trajectory and share that information with Japan.


    Tokyo and Seoul warn they will use their interceptors on anything that threatens their territory, though that is highly unlikely. No country has ever shot at another country’s satellite launch, and, barring any major surprises, the North Korean rocket will be traveling mostly over water, not populated areas.


    “Whether it comes close to our southwestern islands or not, this will have significant implications for our missile defenses, and how they should be adjusted in the future,” said Hiroyasu Akutsu, a senior fellow and Korea expert with the National Institute for Defense Studies, a think tank run by Japan’s Defense Ministry.


    In Washington, Pentagon press secretary George Little also said the launch was being tracked closely out of concern for debris.
    “Debris is a concern with any launch anywhere ...,” he said Thursday. “Obviously, anything you put up in the air, if it comes down, you want to be able to assess where it goes and what the potential impact will be.”
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

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    Can We Shoot Down North Korea’s Missile?
    By Michael Auslin
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    That’s what I argue in my Wall Street Journal column today, namely, that the best way to break the logjam with North Korea, prove our commitment to our allies, and make stability more likely in East Asia, is to blow Pyongyang’s “satellite” out of the sky. Reminding Kim Jong Un that we have a stick to use when he brushes off our attempts at the carrot might just make him and his handlers think about their own survivability.
    Obviously, such a plan has risks, such as North Korea deciding to launch a war in response. But I think they’re too canny for that, since they know they would lose everything in such a scenario. I think shooting the missile down now not only won’t lead to war, but is a better approach to ensuring peace, given that we’ve tried repeatedly to negotiate with the North, and have been made fools of, each time.
    Philip Ewing, of DOD Buzz, points out another possibility that I didn’t contemplate: that we could “swing and miss,” as he puts it. In other words, try to shoot down the missile and fail to do so. That would not only cause great embarrassment and be a propaganda coup for Pyongyang, but would cause a crisis in our entire missile-defense program. This is a serious concern, but it also is one that we should probably settle earlier rather than later, when we may be dependent on the system to save L.A. or Washington, D.C.
    This year, the White House requested $9.7 billion for missile defense, a drop of $700 million from 2011. This includes money for research, development, testing, and evaluation of Aegis missile-defense ships; maintaining radar systems; and missile systems like the SM-3 and land-based PAC-3 launchers and interceptors. We know we can shoot down missiles in tests, but not with 100 percent success rates. This is the kind of real-world scenario where we better not be betting without holding a flush. Our sea-launched SM-3 interceptors are excellent defensive weapons, but this may be the time to prove how well we can integrate the complex operation of launch detection, tracking, fixing the target, and intercepting, when we’re not the ones doing the launching and all we have to worry about is one target. If we can’t do it now, then the whole program will have to be reconsidered.
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Sat Spies North Korea Readying Rocket Launch







    North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Photo: JHU / DigitalGlobe, Inc.

    North Korea appears to be ramping up preparations for its internationally-condemned mid-April rocket launch, new satellite images have revealed.


    The images, released by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, show a mobile radar trailer — which engineers use to gather real-time information about the rocket’s engines and guidance systems — and rows of seemingly empty fuel and oxidiser tanks.


    The institute’s North Korean analysts 38 North have scrutinized satellite imagery taken last week of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the North Pyongan province. They appear to show that North Korea has “undertaken more extensive preparations than previously understood.”


    It is no secret that North Korea plans to launch the Unha-3 rocket carrying the Kwangmyongsong-3 (Bright Star 3) satellite some time between 12 and 16 April to coincide with the 100th birthday of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the country. North Korea has said that the 100-kilogram satellite will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 500 kilometers for two years to study the country’s crops and natural resources.


    However, Washington says that North Korea uses these sorts of launches to test missile systems for nuclear weapons that could target the United States. North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests, but analysts do not think that it has the technology needed to shrink a nuclear weapon and mount it onto a missile.



    If North Korea was to launch a rocket, it would end an agreement from February 29 in which the United States said it would ship food aid to impoverished North Koreans in exchange for a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests.


    This would be the fourth long-range rocket launch since 1998. The most recent launch — the Unha-3 in April 2009 — was condemned by the UN and meant that North Korea pulled out of six-nation nuclear disarmament talks. This led to tensions between North and South Korea, with at least 50 South Koreans killed in attacks that they blamed on the North.


    Japan’s Defence Minister Naoki Tanaka has already said that it will shoot down a North Korean rocket if any falling debris looked as though it would threaten Japan’s territory


    South Korea has made similar comments about shooting down the North Korean rocket if it passes over its territory, with defence ministry spokesman Yoon Won-shick calling the launch “a very reckless, provocative act” that undermines peace on the Korean peninsula.


    Based on previous rocket launch timelines, it is likely that Unha-3 will be ready to launch on April 12.
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    posted yesterday

    U.S. warns North Korea not to launch missile

    By Kristina Wong
    -
    The Washington Times
    Tuesday, April 3, 2012


    • Mobile Patriot missile launchers are unloaded off Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s 8,900-ton transport ship Osumi on April 3, 2012, after its arrival in Miyakojima island in Okinawa Prefecture in southwestern Japan. (Associated Press/Kyodo News)





    The Pentagon on Tuesday warned North Korea not to go through with its planned satellite launch, which several nations suspect is a cover for an illegal ballistic missile test.


    North Korea should not violate their international obligations,” Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters.


    North Korea has said the launch would take place on or around April 15 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.


    The launch would violate the conditions of a recently negotiated deal in which the U.S. planned to give North Korea food aid in exchange for Pyongyang halting long-range missile tests, among other conditions. That deal has been suspended.


    The Defense Department’s focus is on reinforcing to North Korea that “this is something that the international community objects to,” Mr. Little said.


    “We, along with our partners in the region, are monitoring developments very closely,” he said.


    Earlier Tuesday via telephone, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka discussed the planned North Korean missile launch.
    Mr. Panetta and Mr. Tanaka reiterated their view that such a launch would violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which bar North Korea from conducting long-range missile tests, Mr. Little said.


    “Both leaders agreed to continue close contact leading up to and following a potential missile launch,” the Pentagon spokesman said. “North Korea must do the right thing.”
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    Default Re: North Korea's planned rocket test: Why It Matters

    Interesting the in-the-background goings-on...
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