North Korea missile program


Video shows North Korea has yet to master re-entry technology

PUBLISHED Mon, July 31, 2017 - 9:22pm EDT

North Korea has not yet mastered the technology to shield a nuclear warhead from the rigors of re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, U.S. experts said on Monday, citing video footage from Friday's long-range missile test. (more)

North Korea's unusual launch at night allowed multiple cameras in northern Japan to capture the missile as it fell into the Sea of Japan. One of the videos showed a bright light in the sky before it disappeared behind a mountain.

Missile expert Michael Elleman, of the North Korea monitoring project 38 North, said the footage casts serious doubt on North Korea's claim that it can shield a nuclear warhead from the rigors of re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

"At about 20 kilometers (12 miles) above sea level, the RV (re-entry vehicle) has become so hot that it begins to glow as its descent is recorded by the camera," Elleman said. The re-entry vehicle then quickly disappears at an altitude of about 3 to 4 kilometers (1.8 to 2.5 miles).

"This occurs before the RV passes behind the mountain range and is obscured from the camera’s view, indicating that it disintegrated about the time it experienced maximum stressing loads," Elleman explained. "Had the RV survived the rigors of re-entry, it would have continued to glow until disappearing behind the mountains."

Elleman concluded in his assessment that the missile's re-entry vehicle did not survive during Friday's test. It is unknown if the re-entry vehicle survived during North Korea's first long-range missile test on July 4, which happened during daylight as is usual.

"If this assessment accurately reflects reality, North Korea’s engineers have yet to master re-entry technologies and more work remains before Kim Jong Un has an ICBM capable of striking the American mainland," he added.

In addition to questions about North Korea's re-entry technologies, it is also uncertain whether the reclusive country is able to sufficiently miniaturize a nuclear warhead to place it on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"No one outside of North Korea knows the precise status of its nuclear-bomb making capabilities," Elleman said. He added that North Korea could be capable of constructing a nuclear warhead that fits into its long-range missile, but it may have to work on a lighter-weight bomb to reach the U.S. mainland.

Friday's missile test demonstrated that North Korea's missiles are able to reach large parts of the U.S. mainland, including major cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago. It's unknown what the missile was carrying; a heavier payload for a nuclear warhead would reduce the missile's range.

  North Korea        8 UPDATES



More Updates

 1 mon   North Korea holds mass rally to celebrate ICBM launch

              North Korea celebrated the state's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test with a mass rally and dance on Thursday (July 7) in Pyongyang. James Valles reports. (BNO News)

  North Korea        8 UPDATES


 1 mon   WATCH LIVE: UN Security Council holds emergency meeting on North Korea

              UPDATE: This live feed has ended.

The United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on North Korea's long-range missile test.

  New York, NY        8 UPDATES


 1 mon   WATCH LIVE: North Korea to make ‘important announcement’

              FOR LIVE UPDATES: Twitter, Facebook

North Korea is expected to make an "important announcement" at 3 p.m. Pyongyang time (2:30 am ET). State-run TV, which does not typically start broadcasting until 3 p.m., is now playing celebratory and patriotic music. The country is expected to announce a successful ICBM test capable of reaching Alaska.

       8 UPDATES


 1 mon   North Korea test-fires long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska

              North Korea has successfully test-fired what appears to be a long-range missile capable of reaching the U.S. state of Alaska, North Korea and foreign experts say. It marks a significant development for the country's missile program. (more) Read More

  North Korea        8 UPDATES


 3 months   North Korea announces successful test of mid-to-long range missile

              North Korea has carried out a successful test of a newly-developed mid-to-long range ballistic missile, one which could carry a nuclear warhead and potentially reach the U.S. territory of Guam, the country announced on Monday. (more) Read More

  North Korea        8 UPDATES



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