Following up on “Josh’s post,”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1966/unha-2-an-overlooked-angle it looks like the NK Unha-2/TD-2 launch failed.
NORTHCOM has “this”:http://www.northcom.mil/News/2009/040509.html announcement:
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command officials acknowledged today that North Korea launched a Taepo Dong 2 missile at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday which passed over the Sea of Japan/East Sea and the nation of Japan.
*Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan/East Sea. The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean.*
*No object entered orbit* and no debris fell on Japan.
NORAD and USNORTHCOM assessed the space launch vehicle as not a threat to North America or Hawaii and took no action in response to this launch.
This is all of the information that will be provided by NORAD and USNORTHCOM pertaining to the launch.
FWIW, this launch was more successful than the 2006 TD-2 launch, in which the missile blew up ~42 seconds into flight.
Retired Lt. Gen. Henry Obering “argues that”:http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/05/north.korea.rocket/index.html the rocket “was able to go through the staging event,” signaling success in the rocket reaching long-range capability.
Maybe. I interpreted the NORTHCOM annoucement as saying that the last two stages hadn’t separated, though perhaps I was mistaken.