N.Korean Rocket Launch Delayed

      December 11, 2012 09:58

      North Korea has postponed the launch of a space rocket, a spokesman said Monday. The North attributed the delay to a technical glitch found in the "first-stage control engine module."

      That is presumably the thrust vector control, a device that changes the direction of the engine nozzle and thus the position of the rocket itself.

      The North's official KCNA news agency quoted a spokesman for the Outer Space Technology Committee as saying scientists found "a technical glitch" in the module and decided to extend the launch window by one week until Dec. 29.

      On Dec. 1, the North announced a plan to launch a satellite in a southward direction from a launch pad in Cholsan, North Pyongan Province between Dec. 10 and 22. But on Sunday morning, it suddenly announced the possibility of a delay.

      Satellite pictures show the North transporting the rocket and other equipment from Pyongyang to the launch site in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province last Saturday.

      The South Korean government believes the North will launch the rocket between Dec. 23 and 29, given the time needed to repair the first-stage booster and weather conditions.

      A South Korean government source said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un marks the first anniversary of his promotion to supreme commander on Dec. 30 and the North seems in a hurry to launch the rocket to mark the anniversary.

      Camouflage netting still covers the launch pad, so it is hard to tell what is going on.

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