Expert: N.Korea may have lost control of rocket during ascent

An aerospace engineering expert says North Korea appears to have lost control of a rocket during ascent in Monday's failed launch of what it claims was a military reconnaissance satellite.

Professor Sahara Hironori of Tokyo Metropolitan University said a video taken by NHK shows that the rocket's jet stream formed a straight line right after the launch, but that later the line began to bend.

He said North Korea may have destroyed the rocket by a directive from the ground after losing control during the ascent.

North Korea attributed the failed launch to a new "liquid oxygen plus petroleum" engine.

Sahara said the same fuel mixture was used for the Saturn V rocket in the US Apollo program in 1969 in which mankind landed on the moon for the first time.
He said the fuel mixture is not a new technology, but that it was a new challenge for North Korea.

Sahara pointed out the new engine, or the rocket guidance system, may have experienced problems.

Monday's launch took place at the same time as what Pyongyang claims was a successful rocket launch in November last year.

The projectile, which North Korea calls a military reconnaissance satellite, is likely to be flying over the Self-Defense Forces bases in Japan and military bases in the United States every five days.

Sahara said if Monday's launch had been successful, it could have placed another satellite in an orbit to fly above the same locations, at the same hour, on different days.

Sahara said North Korea probably wants to monitor specific locations every day at the same hour. He said Pyongyang may try to launch more satellites at the same time of day as the latest launch.