North Korea began dismantling the Unha-3 booster rocket with a satellite on board. The launch of the rocket could be a veiled test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, Seoul and the West feared. According to South Korean intelligence, a fault was found in the first stage of the rocket, Vesti.ru reports.
According to a source in South Korean diplomatic circles, problems occurred in the control system of the thrust vector of the first stage. It is unclear whether the rocket is going to be installed at the launch pad after the malfunction is fixed or the launch would be aborted, adds RBC.
The DPRK Committee of Space Technology reported that the launch date had been pushed back to December 29. The committee stressed out that the launch had been delayed due to technical problems, rather than the pressure from the international community.
The booster rocket was installed on the launch pad at the spaceport in the northwest of the country in early December. The launch was pre-scheduled for the period from 10 to 22 December. Pyongyang officials announced its plans to launch a satellite into orbit as part of a peaceful space exploration program. However, Washington, Seoul and Tokyo claim that it goes about the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which violates UN Security Council resolutions.
North Korea's plans caused negative reactions in the UK, Germany, France, Russia, China, the U.S. and the European Union. Japan deployed Self-Defense Forces across the country for a possible interception of the Korean missile or its parts.
In April of this year, Pyongyang tried to launch a rocket with a satellite on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the first head of the country, Kim Il-sung. The rocket broke up in the air after a few minutes of flight. The fragments of the rocket fell into the Yellow Sea off the coast of South Korea.