UPDATE (4:15 a.m.): North Korea has now officially gone on the record to admit their satellite failed to make it into orbit.
After weeks of concern, speculation and international condemnation, North Korea launched its rocket… into the sea. No one said rocket science (or disguising missiles as rockets) was easy, after all.
So, the rocket failed shortly after launch, dropping debris in the Yellow Sea off the coast of a nation the North Koreans are still technically at war with. And our friends at Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) have already created an animation of how they believe the launch failure went down.
Using the small amount of information available so soon after the event, the 3D visualization depicts the rocket failing at the first hurdle: stage separation. This would have likely caused the rocket to disintegrate before coming anywhere close to space. The resulting debris then likely scattered across the sea — trajectories of which are helpfully calculated by AGI.
Watch the short animation below. It’s pretty much like the first animation we posted on Wednesday, but with less glory and more rocket carnage:
Here’s an alternate version of the rocket failure.
Video courtesy Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI)