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Is North Korea's Satellite Now Dead? Probably


"...satellite failed either during the ascent or shortly afterwards.”

Although it reportedly had a successful launch, after rumors that the North Korean satellite put into space was spinning "out of control" last week, experts now predict it is dead.

According to the New York Times, Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell said they haven't picked up new transmissions from the satellite, for which the purpose was said by the country to study weather patterns and crops.

North Korea confirmed it had launched a long-range rocket and succeeded in its mission of placing a satellite into orbit last week. (Photo: AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS)

“It’s clear that the rocket part of this mission worked very well for the North Koreans,” McDowell told the Times. “They ended up in the right orbit. But the preponderance of the evidence suggests that the satellite failed either during the ascent or shortly afterwards.”

McDowell explained further that the "tumbling" some have referred to shows that the instruments on the satellite meant to stabilize it are not working.

The North Korean news has said nothing about the satellite's failure as of Monday, a day in which it is remembering dictator Kim  Jong-il's death.

The fact that the satellite no longer appears to be working doesn't come as a surprise to those in the space industry. Last week after the successful launch of the satellite from a rocket, which U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called "not peaceful use of space," many speculated that the country had a long way to go before it would have a successful intercontinental ballistic missile.

The country has not yet demonstrated its ability to create a re-entry vehicle or a nuclear warhead small enough to mount on a long-range missile.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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