North Korea’s rocket began life underwater
Schematic drawing of a Taepo-Dong 2 missile by Charles Vick of GlobalSecurity.org
April 4th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

North Korea’s rocket began life underwater

By Larry Shaughnessy

If North Korea launches a missile in the next couple of weeks, as it has promised, it will be the result of international cooperation stretching from Moscow to Tehran and, perhaps, Beijing.

Experts who track North Korea's space program expect the communist regime will roll out a somewhat improved version of the Taepodong-2 (or the Unha-2 as North Korea refers to it) missile it last tested in April 2009.

The Taepodong-2 has never had a completely successful launch but, according to David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists, "We can go back and model that (2009) trajectory pretty well. The trajectory certainly appears to be the kind of trajectory they would have used for a satellite launch."

Experts expect the missile that the North Koreans are preparing to test is not drastically different from the vehicle used three years ago.

"I don't expect any major new things utterly visible on the launch vehicle. I expect it to be the same basic configuration as we saw in 2009," said Charles Vick, senior fellow in space policy for GlobalSecurity.Org.

After years of watching North Korea's activities and past launches, experts like Vick and Wright have been able to learn a lot, but not everything, about the Taepodong-2.

Most large modern rockets are built in several parts, or stages. In this case, the first, or lower, stage provides the bulk of the power to lift the missile off the launch pad and into its initial flight trajectory. When the first stage runs out of fuel, it falls off and the second, or middle, stage kicks the missile to a higher altitude and gets it going faster. The third, or upper, stage carries the payload and provides that last kick of power to lift the payload (in this case a small satellite) into orbit at a speed that will keep it there.

Wright believes the upper stage of the Taepodong-2 comes from a missile first built by the Soviets in their heyday 50 years ago. In 1962, the Soviets started developing a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, the SSN-6. It was made up of a large engine that provided lift and some small steering engines on top that kept it on course.

About the upper stage Wright said that what many observers think, "having looked at both what we've seen of the structure of it and also how it operated in the 2009 launch, is that it uses small engines from a Russian submarine-launched missile that Russia built ... called the SSN-6."

The small engines are liquid-fueled and originally were meant to steer the sub-launched missile.

But this is where the experts Security Clearance spoke to disagree. Vick said the upper stage of the Taepodong-2 has a very different ancestry.

"The third stage is of Chinese origin," he said. "The third stage is actually a Chinese solid motor surrounded by shrouds."

Whatever the origin, that upper stage has never worked. Referring to the 2009 launch, Wright said, "As far as we can tell, the third stage simply didn't fire and fell into the ocean with the second stage."

The two experts agree that the second stage of the Taepodong-2 missile comes from the SSN-6.

"The second stage, from the size and the way it operated, was essentially one of these SSN-6 Soviet missiles," Wright said. "We have some good photos of this launch vehicle that the North Koreans provided; it has the right size and shape. If you do some of the computer modeling that we've done, it has some of the performance you would expect of the Soviet missile."

The bottom or first stage represents about 80% of the Taepodong-2's initial weight. While it appears North Korea had the most to do with its design and construction, it also may have started in the old Soviet Union.

The stage is made up of a cluster of North Korea Nodong engines, which were developed from old Soviet Scud missiles.

Vick is convinced that Pyongyang is working together with Tehran on the missile development. "Iran and North Korea have cooperated totally together on this launch vehicle. Iran did a lot of propulsion work," he said.

Wright agrees there is some link, but exactly how it works is unclear to him.

"It's sometimes hard to tell which direction the flow of knowledge and technology is going," he said. "Iran developed a missile called the Shahab 3, which appears to be very similar to the Nodong missile. So there is always the question of whether North Korea gave them parts (or) it gave them help."

The biggest concern for U.S. officials is what this launch means for American security. So far the situation has been that the Taepodong-2 has never had a fully successful launch and there has been no indication that North Korea has the ability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be a payload on a Taepodong-2.

But on Tuesday, South Korean media reported that the North may be building a bigger, more powerful missile that could carry a bigger payload even farther than the Taepodong-2.

soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. massage places near me

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

    https://www.paparazzi.ru/rk.php?goto=http://taxdebtreliefhelpers.com

    May 6, 2021 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  2. big truck repair shops near me

    http://d.ccmp.eu/Fr/599/1/tracking/tracking.php?id_camp=21465&id_contact=00557000006N6yfAAC&url=http3A2F2Ffleetautorepairshop.com

    May 6, 2021 at 11:20 am | Reply
  3. health group

    I like looking through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

    https://image.google.cv/url?sa=i&url=https://mastermindofmen.com

    May 6, 2021 at 7:29 am | Reply
  4. Contact Lenses Near Me

    https://www.allkarupsow.com/o/o.cgi?id=18&l=top_footer&u=https://arizonasvision.com

    May 6, 2021 at 5:09 am | Reply
  5. RV Paint Shop California

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I'll forward this information to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    https://promocja-hotelu.pl/go.php?url=https://customcampervans.com

    May 6, 2021 at 1:41 am | Reply
  6. Optometrist Phoenix

    https://maps.google.com.uy/url?rct=i&sa=t&url=https://eyedoctorphoenixaz.com

    May 5, 2021 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  7. burlington near me

    http://ar10.vze.com/frame-forward.cgi?https://www.oc-rv.com

    May 5, 2021 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  8. sportsmobile california

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.

    https://google.cat/url?q=https3A2F2Ffleetservicesorangecounty.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  9. executive training near me

    https://304.www.talkreviews.com/go/masteringthemanwithin.com

    May 5, 2021 at 11:48 am | Reply
  10. service truck repair near me

    https://cse.google.com.ua/url?q=https3A2F2Focrvfleetservices.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 9:19 am | Reply
  11. aika online private server source

    https://image.google.me/url?rct=i&sa=t&url=https://aikareborn.com

    May 5, 2021 at 9:17 am | Reply
  12. chevrolet box truck

    https://images.google.com.gt/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://fleettruckrepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 5:21 am | Reply
  13. mobile truck tire repair

    Hello there! This article could not be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I will send this article to him. Pretty sure he'll have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://www.torque.co.nz/TorqueCMS.php?ln=_link001000013820103161454000339&URL=https://fleetrepairshops.com

    May 5, 2021 at 5:06 am | Reply
  14. Az Vision

    I truly love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own blog and would like to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

    https://map.google.dz/url?sa=t&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Farizonasvision.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  15. houses for sale near by

    http://onestopias.com/ias-books/redirect.asp?url=meganleary.com

    April 27, 2021 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  16. car paint shop orange county

    http://ww41.instergram.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-la-verne-california/

    April 24, 2021 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  17. New Forklift For Sale California

    http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php?thememode=mobile&redirect=https://wildwestlifttrucks.com/newport-beach-forklifts

    April 23, 2021 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  18. RV AC Los Angeles

    http://tr.instela.com/redirect?url=http3A2F2Focrv.mobi

    April 23, 2021 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  19. homes for sale coeur d alene lake

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://cse.google.sm/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://meganleary.com

    April 23, 2021 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  20. zortilonrel

    I truly appreciate this post. I've been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You've made my day! Thanks again!

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 21, 2021 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  21. ClarkClurn

    fh3yk 61bze thzn

    February 28, 2021 at 9:37 am | Reply
  22. vreyro linomit

    You could certainly see your skills in the paintings you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart. "A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some." by Joe Moore.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    February 26, 2021 at 8:01 am | Reply
  23. zortilonrel

    good post.Ne'er knew this, regards for letting me know.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    February 18, 2021 at 3:23 am | Reply
  24. https://europa-road.eu/hu/kombajn-szallitas-mezogazdasagi-gep-szallitas.php

    Thanks for every other informative website. The place else may just I am getting that type of info written in such an ideal approach? I've a project that I am just now operating on, and I've been at the glance out for such info.

    https://europa-road.eu/hu/kombajn-szallitas-mezogazdasagi-gep-szallitas.php

    February 9, 2021 at 3:20 am | Reply
  25. zortilonrel

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent, as well as the content!

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    February 7, 2021 at 3:44 am | Reply
  26. frolep rotrem

    We're a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with helpful info to paintings on. You've performed a formidable job and our whole group can be thankful to you.

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 6, 2021 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  27. 500 Dollars a Day Money System

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Run our Premium Unlimited Traffic Step 3: Setup your Paypal account. Then just sit back and relax while you watch your paypal account receiving payments during the whole day 100 in auto pilot. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://bit.ly/32Pc9iD

    January 30, 2021 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  28. Elmer Schoettmer

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – 30 minutes to send to customers

    https://bit.ly/3iVO2Vh

    January 27, 2021 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  29. Lesley Underwood

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery (Click on the link in the profile for more details)

    https://bit.ly/3iVO2Vh

    January 27, 2021 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  30. Louise Rourke

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – 30 minutes to send to customers

    https://bit.ly/3iOPatX

    January 26, 2021 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  31. Basilia Cuccia

    Social network traffic Facebook likes Twitter Followers Instagram Followers and much more

    https://bit.ly/3iVO2Vh

    January 22, 2021 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  32. Peter Vancooten

    A person essentially lend a hand to make seriously articles I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this particular submit amazing. Fantastic activity!

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 11, 2021 at 12:01 am | Reply
  33. earn passive income in 2021

    Earn 100 commissions of up to 900+ dollars DAILY. 90 Second Set Up – Beta Tested Proven 24-7 AUTOPILOT Income – 100 FREE Multi-Tier Traffic Built In. More details: https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    December 26, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  34. Horacio Whittiker

    ??????? ??????? ,??????????? ???? ,???? ???? ?????? ,???? ???? ,?????? ,?????? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,???? ????? ,???? ????? ,??????? ????? ,???? ????? ,???? ????? ,????? ?????? ,????? ??-??? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ?????

    http://6dollarmillion.xyz

    December 20, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  35. detectives privados alcalá de henares

    detectives privados moncloa

    https://www.argadetectives.com/detectives-en-conil-de-la-frontera-cadiz.html

    December 12, 2020 at 1:57 am | Reply
  36. ioditaeteneus

    deathwing server wow deathwing http://deathwing-rage.ru

    September 21, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
  37. Aidergoosteog

    школота атакует http://orange31.ru

    September 21, 2012 at 4:33 am | Reply
  38. slavich

    славики http://slavich.su
    очкозавр >

    September 21, 2012 at 3:08 am | Reply
  39. sftommy

    and it ended its life underwater!!

    Ha!

    April 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  40. Justin

    I see they drew the plans up for the Dong on a napkin leftover from happy hour at the corner bar.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  41. Dayttrader4

    Okayyyyyy..... Fess up!!! Who threw the g-d rock????

    April 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  42. Wondering

    Please direct me where I can find confirming video(s) of the rocket/missle failure....

    April 13, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • SFC Mike

      That would be radar and telemtry data, not video. KCNA already acknowledged failure.

      April 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  43. Dave

    There's the problem, it's a "nodong" missile. That will never work!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  44. fuckallrednecks

    death to usa the great satan

    from Iran with hate

    April 9, 2012 at 4:15 am | Reply
    • Raymond

      Mushroomheads just don`t know what they`re up to...threatening to close hormuz and back out when confronted. Iran and NK are good at BLUFFING only, but hide their tails when challenged. Poor people...

      April 9, 2012 at 5:34 am | Reply
    • Dave

      That "Great Satan" thing is the absolute dumbest thing I have ever heard.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Reply
    • sftommy

      and yet Satan loves not the US but Iran more
      I think it's the heat and his progeny ruling there that makes it so homelike.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  45. j

    seems like they just mashed some parts together and hope its gonna work..

    April 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  46. sielingfan

    lol. "No-dong" missile.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • lonemoderate

      better "No-Dong" than that "Type-o-Dong"

      April 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
    • Raymond

      You`ve got a dirty mind my friend, hehe...

      April 9, 2012 at 5:38 am | Reply
  47. your mother

    please stop damaging the earth can you not see that every rocket every bomb that goes off is causes earthquakes why cant the world give peace a chance honor the day of rest and behave cause the end result is peace anyway after your destroy mother earth she can instant repair in a blink of a eye so please live in peace ITS THE END RESULT ANYWAY

    April 4, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • jose

      i hope a tree falls on you

      April 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Reply
      • Dave

        I hope many trees fall on certain people whom I would get in trouble for mentioning the names of.

        April 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  48. mipolitic

    FUTURE COMMAND OF NORTH KOREA , ABORT , ABORT MISSION , momments later , what do you mean it is headed into china !

    April 4, 2012 at 9:03 am | Reply
    • Dave

      Sounds good. A North Korean version of the movie "Fail Safe"

      April 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  49. See DOWNLOAD MP4/3GP VIDEOS FOR FREE PLEASE NOTE: U MUST BE 18

    we are watching north korea ikeep it up

    April 4, 2012 at 6:51 am | Reply
    • Dave

      Keep your Garbage off of this noble site

      April 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Reply

Leave a Reply to zortilonrel


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.