The law of unintended consequences: the more rocket launches fail and the more the west critiques their technology, the more driven the North Koreans are to continue their efforts with funds that would be much better devoted to humanitarian objectives. Now it becomes an ego issue. If only we could have ignored the entire venture. After the first or second launch, the North Koreans could have moved into another venture with better public relations potential.
I see your point, but just because NK had another rocket failure doesn't mean somebody shot it down.
It's quite an exaggeration to say kids are launching rockets that hit the edge of space. It wasn't until 2004 that serious amateur rocketeers (adult engineers with money to spend) crossed the 100 km altitude -- the official edge of outer space -- and there were many failed attempts prior to that.
I agree, the North Koreans are not stupid, but they are in fact inexperienced. The fact that this rocket design has failed 3 times just makes NK like everybody else who has tried to reach orbit. And like everyone else, if they keep trying, learning and making adjustments, it is likely they will eventually succeed.
Do any of our expert contributors know the type of guidance system that the N Korean rocket used, was it a launch-and-leave inertial navigation system or was it under guidance control via radio links from the ground? If it was the latter then it would be relatively easy for the guidance to be interfered with (i.e.hacked)by a third party and course changes made that would introduce destructive vibrations.
It is even possible and ground controlled local area self destruct switch was left open and accessed. There would be more evidence of that.
Duane, it is the latter. Charles Vick at GlobalSecurity.org has been tracking the North Korean, Iranian, Chinese and other rocket programs for years. He also closely tracks how scientists and engineers in each of these countries have worked together over the years to develop ballistic missiles, which appears to be the ultimate goal. Vick also is a veteran of the Saturn V program, the greatest rocket ever built and arguably the greatest machine ever built. Vick literally overwhelmed us with data and analysis when we spoke with him last Friday as more data on the NK launch was filtering in. It's good to know smart folks like Vick is tracking this stuff and can explain it all to journalists.