North Korean satellite 'spiraling out of control, most likely dead', claims expert
North Korea's recent satellite launch, named in honor of late leader Kim Jong Il, is spiraling out of control and may already be dead, an expert has claimed.
"It's spinning or tumbling, and we haven't picked up any transmissions," Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer who tracks rocket launchings and space activity, said.
"Those two things are most consistent with the satellite being entirely inactive at this point," he added.
According to the New York Times, the satellite, about the size of a washing machine, reportedly carries an on-board camera to observe the earth.
That mission requires the spacecraft to remain quite steady, the report said.
The paper quoted Dr. McDowell, as saying that 'tumbling would imply that on-board systems meant to control and stabilize the craft had failed.'
He added that radio astronomers had picked up no signals from the satellite and that optical astronomers had observed it brightening and dimming as it slowly rotated through space end over end.
"It's clear that the rocket part of this mission worked very well for the North Koreans. They ended up in the right orbit. But the preponderance of the evidence suggests that the satellite failed either during the ascent or shortly afterwards," he added.
Meanwhile, North Korea's state-run news media said nothing about the satellite's dysfunction.
It is rather focusing on the event the launching was supposed to honor: the somber first anniversary of the death of Kim Jong-il, the longtime leader.