June 28, 2023 13:15
The South Korean military is scrutinizing a turbopump from the second stage of a North Korean space rocket that was retrieved from the West Sea on June 15.
The rocket carrying a purported military spy satellite crashed into waters about 200 km west of Eocheong Island on May 31.
The turbopump is a major component of the rocket engine, and analysis will provide insight into the level of the North's intercontinental ballistic missile technology.
Search and salvage operations to retrieve more debris are still underway.
"We're closely examining it with U.S. military intelligence," a senior military officer told the Chosun Ilbo on Tuesday.
The turbopump supplies liquid fuel to the rocket engine and was presumably linked to a circular nozzle that shoots flames to thrust the rocket into space.
The military also retrieved Russian-made components from the debris, suggesting that the North was importing them clandestinely in violation of international sanctions.
Military authorities are trying to find out the cause of the crash. At the moment South Korea and the U.S. speculate that the rocket crash was caused by engine failure in the second stage, possibly due to nozzle malfunction.
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