North Korea said Thursday its second attempt to launch a spy satellite has ended in failure, citing "an error in the emergency blasting system during the third-stage flight."
Pyongyang said it launched the spy satellite, the Malligyong-1, mounted on a new type of rocket named the Chollima-1, but that it failed due to a problem that is "not a big issue in aspect of the reliability of cascade engines and the system," according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korea's national aerospace agency plans to probe the cause behind the emergency blasting system malfunction and once again attempt to put a satellite into orbit in October, the KCNA said.
Thursday's launch, conducted at the Sohae satellite launching station, came roughly three months after Pyongyang's first spy satellite launch ended in failure in late May.
The North had then confirmed the failure on the day of the launch, attributing it to an abnormal starting of the second-stage engine and pledged to carry out its second launch "as soon as possible," without specifying a date.
In a key party meeting held in June, attended by leader Kim Jong-un, the North called the botched attempt the "most serious" shortcoming in the first half that "cannot be overlooked."
A spy satellite is among the high-tech weapons systems that the North's leader Kim Jong-un vowed to develop at a key party congress in 2021, along with a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile and a nuclear-powered submarine.
An official at South Korea's unification ministry said North Korea probably confirmed the launch failure swiftly, as it had done in May, since it had notified Japan of a plan to launch the satellite between Thursday and Aug. 31.
"North Korea is assumed to have made an assessment that it cannot but disclose the failure as the whole world was paying attention and because it had made a prior notice on launching a satellite," the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Given that the North has announced its next launch will come in October, the official said there is a "high possibility" that the third launch attempt will occur on the occasion of the founding of the North's ruling Workers' Party on Oct. 10.
Source: Yonhap News Agency