Kwangmyongsong: Epic Fail, or Epic BS?

North Korean satellite launch efforts are now “0 for 2”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1968/unha-2td-2-launch-epic-fail — not that you’d know it from their (terrestrial) broadcasts. You’ve got to wonder if there was ever a Kwangmyongsong-1 or Kwangmyongsong-2 in the first place.

(Those paying attention in August 1998 may recall that K-1 and the third stage that was supposed to boost it into orbit came as a surprise to the outside world.)

This “purported picture of K-1”:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipehttp://www.totalwonkerr.net/textpattern/index.phpdia/en/3/3d/Kwangmyongsong.jpg sure looks awfully like China’s “Dongfanghong-1”:http://knows.jongo.com/UserFiles/Image/dongfanghong1.jpg, doesn’t it? Maybe it was a close copy. Or maybe it was just a mockup, based on some North Korean engineer’s (or propagandist’s) idea of what a first satellite should look like.

If the K-1 and K-2 were wholly fictitious, we might actually be _underestimating_ the reliability of NK missiles.

[Update: The emerging consensus says “fail”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/06/world/asia/06korea.html.]

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