SEOUL, Aug 24 (Reuters) – North Korea appears to have made progress in its space program, despite a second rocket failure on Thursday, but its unusually quick launch pace may be causing problems, analysts said.
North Korea’s second attempt to place a spy satellite in orbit failed after the booster experienced a problem with its third stage, state media reported.
The launch came less than three months after the first flight of the Chollima-1 booster, and authorities vowed to try again in October.
“Putting the marker down for October is pretty gutsy,” Jeffrey Lewis, a missile researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said in a post on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter. “Can’t say I recall them being so specific before.”
The North’s scientists appear to have addressed the unstable fuel or engine problem that caused the first Chollima-1 to fail during its second stage.
Thursday’s second flight was doomed instead by what state media said was a faulty “emergency blasting system” in the third stage, which analysts said could refer to a self-destruct system often installed in rockets to prevent large pieces of debris from raining down during an accident.
“The fact that they announced a third launch in October, which is quite immediate, could mean that there were no problems with the performance and separation of the first-, second- and third-stage rockets, and they have confirmed what’s wrong with the emergency explosion device through telemetry data reception,” said Chang Young-keun, a professor at Korea Aerospace University in South Korea.
The nuclear-armed North has said it wants a working system of spy satellites to monitor the U.S. and South Korean militaries, and analysts say the Chollima-1 has the potential to be a capable system…