North Korea Announces Planned Satellite Launch

Posted March 15th, 2012 at 11:55 pm (UTC-5)
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North Korea announced Friday that it will launch a satellite next month in honor of late president Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday, which falls on April 15.

In a statement carried by official media, a spokesman for the North's Korean Committee for Space Technology said a long-range Unha-3 rocket would launch a domestic-built polar-orbiting earth observation satellite.

The North said a safe flight orbit had been chosen so rocket debris would not have any impact on neighboring countries..

The launch will take place three years after a similar launch in April of 2009 drew widespread condemnation as a cover for testing North Korea's long-range missile technology. The launch was seen as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting North Korea from engaging in nuclear and ballistic missile activity.

Pyongyang agreed last month to suspend long-range missile tests as part of a deal under which the U.S. would provide 240,000 tons of food aid.