North Korea’s attempt to put a military reconnaissance satellite in space failed Wednesday when the second stage of the rocket malfunctioned, state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, adding that Pyongyang planned to carry out a second launch as soon as possible, Ednews reports citing CNN.
“The new satellite vehicle rocket, Chollima-1, crashed into the West Sea as it lost propulsion due to an abnormal startup of the engine on the 2nd stage after the 1st stage was separated during normal flight,” KCNA said.
The report said “the reliability and stability of the new engine system” was “low” and the fuel used “unstable,” leading to the mission’s failure.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said it identified an object presumed to be part of what North Korea claims to be its space launch vehicle in the sea about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Eocheong Island at around 8:05 a.m. and is in the process of obtaining it.
Earlier, South Korea’s military said Pyongyang fired a “space projectile,” triggering emergency alerts in Seoul and Japan, weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered officials to prepare to launch the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite.
Both countries later canceled those alerts when it became clear there was no danger to civilian areas from the North Korean launch.
Analysts said Wednesday morning’s events illustrated problems for both North and South Korea, for Pyongyang in its space program and for Seoul in its public alert process.
North Korea’s National Space Development Agency said it would investigate the failure “urgently” and carry out another launch after new testing, KCNA reported.