North Korean Chollima-1 maiden launch ends in second stage failure – sets off neighbours’ alarms

by | May 31, 2023 | Launches, Military space, Satellites, Seradata News

North Korea attempted to orbit a military reconnaissance satellite Malligyeong-1 using its new Chollima-1 rocket from a pad at the Sohae launch site at 0629 GMT on 30 May 2023.  While the first stage operated successfully and was separated during normal flight the rest of the new Chollima-1 rocket with the satellite aboard crashed into the West Sea of Korea, 200 km west of Eocheong. The official cause according to the North Korean National Space Development Agency (NSDA) was a loss of propulsion on the second stage due to an abnormal start-up/ignition of the second stage engine due to an apparent instability in either the engine or the fuel system. The Chollima-1 (aka Cheonlima-1) launch vehicle is thought to have at least three stages.

Recovered stage from North Korean Chollima-1 launch Courtesy: NK News via Twitter

The failed launch, apparently, given the South-westerly track, was heading for a near polar Sun-synchronous low Earth orbit. The failure caused missile attack warnings in South Korea and Japan.  Debris including some intact stages, was fished out of the sea by South Korean authorities.

Chollima-1 launches on its ill-fated maiden flight. Courtesy: KCNA

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