North Korea has sent another satellite dubbed Kwangmyongsong 4 into space last Saturday that the country claims will be used for peaceful agricultural scientific research only. The satellite itself is now officially in orbit after a bumpy initialization.
Reports documenting the satellite launch say North Korea’s attempt to get the satellite into Earth’s orbit sent the satellite spiraling out of control and tumbling around in its orbit path, essentially making any of its sensitive equipment useless for the time being, but a few days later, things appear to have calmed down and the satellite is now under control.
"It's in a stable orbit now. They got the tumbling under control," a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
A video of the launch can be seen below:
Neighboring countries are worried about the satellite launch because it doesn’t appear to be transmitting any information back to Earth. Instead, there are concerns that the rocket launch was a masked attempt to test out rockets that could be used for future missile systems.
South Korea has reportedly recovered a piece of the rocket from the launch just off the coast of Jeju Island that it intends to investigate. The main rocket itself is said to have exploded into several pieces (as many as 270), bringing up the theory that it may have been fitted with some kind of explosive to make it self-destruct to prevent anyone from investigating the rocket remains.
The satellite may have been put into orbit, but the orbit of the satellite will continue to be under scrutiny because of how bumpy the initialization was. If it even slightly bounces out of orbit, it could just come crashing back to Earth, where it would then burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.