North Korea Says Rocket Carrying Spy Satellite Exploded In Flight

North Korea’s latest attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit ended in a mid-air explosion hours after the launch, Pyongyang announced on Monday.

The attempt came just hours after Pyongyang issued a warning that it would try to launch a satellite by June 4. North Korea had fired the projectile on a southern path off its west coast at around 10:44 pm (local time), AFP reported.

“The launch of the new satellite carrier rocket failed when it exploded in mid-air during the flight of the first stage,” the deputy director general of North Korea’s National Aerospace Technology Administration said in a report quoted by news agency Reuters.

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The report also said that an initial analysis suggested that the cause was a newly developed liquid fuel rocket motor, but other possible causes were being investigated.

Launching a spy satellite into orbit has been a priority for Kim Jong Un’s government. North Korea claimed to have succeeded in a launch in November 2023 after two failed attempts last year.

It announced earlier today that it was planning to put another satellite into orbit, prompting criticism from both South Korea and Japan.

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North Korea’s failed attempts last year included one in May which happened due to the “abnormal” startup of its second-stage engine and the second in August which occurred due to an error in the “emergency blasting system”.

The latest launch came hours after China, South Korea and Japan completed a rare three-way summit in Seoul.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had called on North Korea to not go ahead with the launch.

North Korea has said that it needs a military reconnaissance satellite to boost monitoring of the US and South Korean military activities.