- Thousands of North Koreans celebrated the launch of their latest satellite
- The hermit state organised a fireworks display last night in Pyongyang
- US monitors said the 100kg satellite orbits the world once every 94 minutes
- It is feared North Korea is developing rockets to deliver nuclear weapons
Darren Boyle for MailOnline
08:24 EST, 8 February 2016
08:45 EST, 8 February 2016
North Korea celebrated the successful launch of its new satellite which overflew the venue of Super Bowl 50 with an elaborate fireworks display.
The hermit state launched its rocket on Sunday which was equipped with a Kwangmyongsong, or ‘Shining Star’ satellite.
However, the international community fears that the rocket is being tested as a platform for an inter-continental ballistic missile to deliver nuclear missiles.
North Korea celebrated the successful launch of a satellite with a fireworks display last night, pictured
The state sponsored fireworks took place in Pyongyang just hours after the satellite went into orbit
Hundreds of loyal North Korean citizens clapped appreciatively to show their enjoyment of the fireworks
News of the successful launch was broadcast to the nation by Ri Chun-hui, North Korea’s favourite journalist
The US North American Aerospace Command, NORAD, confirmed North Korea now has two satellites in orbit above the earth.
Both satellites take approximately 94 minutes to complete an orbit of the earth.
Technology expert Martyn William told Associated Press: ‘It passed almost directly overhead Silicon Valley, which is where I am and where the stadium is. The pass happened at 8:26 p.m., after the game. I would put it down to nothing more than a coincidence, but an interesting one.’
The game in Santa Clara, California, ended at 7:25 p.m. local time.
North Korea claims Sunday’s successful satellite launch was its fourth.
The first two have never been confirmed by anyone else, but experts worldwide agree it got one into orbit in 2012 and NORAD confirmed the second satellite made it into orbit following Sunday’s launch.
North Korea hailed the successful satellite launch as a major technological and scientific advance
North Korea claimed the satellite would improve the quality of the country’s weather forecasting service
The satellite is believed to weigh approximately 100 kilograms.
Their main applications, according to Pyongyang, are monitoring the weather, mapping natural resources and forest distributions and providing data that might help farmers improve their crops.
North Korea’s state-run media quoted scientists and researchers at the North’s State Hydro-Meteorological Administration as saying Sunday they are ‘are delighted at the news’ of the launch. Its deputy director, Ryu Pong Chol, reportedly said it will give a big boost to North Korean weather forecasters.
International experts believe the first satellite has never broadcast any data back to earth since its launch in 2012.
Signals from the new satellite had also yet to be detected. Amateurs and experts alike are doing their best to listen in around the world, but it is unclear exactly what frequency the satellite is supposed to be using, or what it will be transmitting.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said four objects from the 2012 launch are still trackable in their orbits — the satellite itself, the final stage of the Unha-3 rocket that lifted it into space and two small pieces of debris.
The satellite passed over the site of the Super Bowel in Santa Clara, California one hour after the game ended
Kim Jong-un pictured yesterday at mission control with his ‘ambitious’ hair cut, witnessed the space launch
McDowell said: ‘It will stay up for a few more years. There’s no evidence that the spacecraft ever transmitted any signals. If it did work, I suspect it was for only a few hours, if at all.’
He said the satellite was in an initial orbit of 498×587 kilometers — figures that denote the object’s closest and farthest distance from Earth — similar to the orbit of the satellite launched Sunday. But over 3 years, friction with the Earth’s outer atmosphere has brought the older one’s orbit closer, to 467×529 kilometers. That’s still well above the orbit of the International Space Station.
McDowell said: ‘Perhaps if the new one works they’ll actually release Earth images from it. We’ll see.’
He added: ‘I have no idea when the end of the Super Bowl was, not a sports fan,” he said. But KMS-4 did pass over that part of California at 8:27 p.m. PST at an altitude of 480 kilometers. I calculate it was 35 miles west and 300 miles up as it passed overhead heading almost due north.’
For the space buffs out there, the orbits of both satellites can be tracked in real time on the website N2YO.com under the names KMS-4 and KMS 3-2.
Thousands of North Koreans congregated at Kim Il Sung Square this morning to celebrate the satellite
Thousands of North Koreans clapped obediently during the highly orchestrated celebration in Pyongyang
The North insists its space programme is purely scientific in nature, but the United States and allies, including South Korea, say its rocket launches are aimed at developing an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the US mainland.
UN sanctions prohibit North Korea from any launch using ballistic missile technology.
Despite Pyongyang’s claims to the contrary, the North is still seen as being years away from developing a credible inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Orbital rocket launches, experts say, are relatively straightforward compared to the challenge of mastering the re-entry technology required to deliver a payload as far away as the United States.
The US-led campaign to impose harsh new sanctions on North Korea over its latest nuclear test have faced opposition from the North’s main diplomatic protector, China.
On Friday, both US President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye spoke by phone with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, urging him to back punitive measures against Pyongyang.
While infuriated by North Korea’s refusal to curb its nuclear ambitions, China’s overriding concern is avoiding a collapse of the regime in Pyongyang and the possibility of a US-allied unified Korea on its border.